A Three-point Proposal to Change the Humanitarian system

This solution addresses an antiquated humanitarian system in the world for the neediest recipients of aid

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Problem Description

The humanitarian system is called upon and meeting need more than ever before. Yet, despite this progress, it is struggling to keep pace with the growing demands placed on it. While attempts to improve the system are numerous, few focus on its fundamental operating assumptions. This solution--a proposal for change in the form of a report from the Humanitarian Policy Group--was created to challenge these assumptions as well as the underlying power dynamics and incentive structures of the humanitarian sector.

Building Blocks

Story

A foreword from Sara Pantuliano, Director, Humanitarian Policy Group

"Drawing on recent HPG research, this report – a collective effort by the HPG team, as well as the fruit of insights from thinkers and doers in humanitarianism from around the world – reflects on this complexity, and sketches out some of its implications, both for the practical business of emergency assistance and for the principles, ethos and culture that underpin it. "

Drawing on four years of research, this report argues for three unique acts of "letting go" by various humanitarian actors. First, the UN and large international NGOs need to let go of power and control. Second, the humanitarian system needs to let go of perverse incentives. Third, the humanitarian system needs to let go of its own exceptionalism.

The report's main author is Christina Bennett. It was publicly released in April 2016.

Sustainable Development Goals

On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. This solution covers the following goals:

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Video

Social Progress Index

  • Platform and System Level Support - Other
  • Photos

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    • Needs survey graph
    • Time to let go

    Resources

    Contributed By

    • Christina Bennett, Overseas Development Institute

    Solution Stage

    One of the 7 stages of an innovation. Learn more
    STAGE SPECIALIST SKILLS REQUIRED EXAMPLE ACTIVITIES RISK LEVEL AND HANDLING FINANCE REQUIRED KINDS OF EVIDENCE GENERATED GOAL
    Generating ideas2
    Ideation and facilitation of creative thinking
    • Creativity methods
    • Design tools
    • Crowdsourcing
    • Open innovation
    • Awards and rewards
    • Challenge prizes
    • High failure rate should be an explicit expectation
    • Visible senior leadership essential
    HIGH
    • Usually grants, occassionally convertible
    LOW
    A clear account of change or likely causation, supported – but not overly constrained – by evidence
    An idea or set of ideas to develop and test

    Key Details

    Social Progress Index
    Platform and System Level Support
    Sustainable Development Goals
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    Activity