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What we do

Thematic expertise

What is most important to us is bringing fresh thinking to challenge the status quo of humanitarian aid.

Jordan, Photography by Greta Carroll

Focus Areas

Addressing knowledge and evidence gaps in the sector is a priority for us.

We are independent and non-operational, so we have the luxury of asking the hard questions. The cross-cutting theme of our work is promoting improvement in humanitarian aid. This means challenging the distribution of power and the way things are done within the sector in order to push for better outcomes, better accountability and better humanitarian action.

Our thematic focus areas have developed from listening and responding to sector needs, gaps and curiosities. These areas draw on the expertise, knowledge and skills of our staff, national consultants and partners, and regional advisors.

Local leadership

The momentum for supporting localised humanitarian action will only last with evidence to show that it works.

Our work in this area strives to build that evidence base, elevating local leadership in the process. Working with our amazing local partners, we have built frameworks for how to measure the sector’s progress toward localisation and begun to understand the impact of empowering local leadership.

We’ve worked in partnership with international and national actors on a range of initiatives, from supporting localisation strategy development, organisational programming, and the nuts and bolts of how supporting local leadership can work in practice.


Diversity, inclusion and protection

We believe that the way humanitarian agencies conduct their work and the impact that work has are inextricable forces.

The diversity of our workforce, how inclusive it is, and how it supports inclusive humanitarian response and humanitarian protection are special interest areas for us. We’ve conducted research on diversity and inclusion for humanitarian agencies, review their policies and strategies, and develop protection frameworks and training.

Syria, Photography by Ashley Clements
Syria, Photography by Ashley Clements

Enhancing humanitarian practice

We still believe that humanitarianism is one of the most sacred ‘isms’ in the world – and that’s why we push the sector to always be moving toward better humanitarian practice.

We’re interested in the big picture and the detail – from strategy development, to program design to assessing impact. Our expertise lies in asking (and answering) the question: How can we learn from our successes and our mistakes to improve humanitarian action?

Other areas of expertise

We also bring expertise in a range of other key thematic areas:

  • Humanitarian civil-military coordination
  • Protection of civilians in armed conflict
  • Climate change
  • Humanitarian reform
  • Non-traditional humanitarian actors – private sector and emerging donors
  • The humanitarian-development-peace nexus
  • Women, Peace and Security agenda
Myanmar, Photography by Greta Carroll
Myanmar, Photography by Greta Carroll