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The Humanitarian Innovation Project (HIP) officially kicks-off on Thursday 15 November with a public launch event at the Oxford Department of International Development.

Dr Alexander Betts will lead the discussion, focussing on 'Humanitarian innovation and refugee protection’ with Louise Bloom talking on ‘Building a humanitarian innovation database’ and Dr Naohiko Omata expanding upon his recent field work on ‘Refugee livelihoods and private sector engagement in Uganda’.

Innovation takes place every day in the humanitarian context. Rarely, though, have ideas about innovation been systematically adapted and applied to humanitarianism. This project seeks to improve the innovation process within the humanitarian world. Its ultimate aim is to develop a methodology for bottom-up humanitarian innovation, which can be applied at the field level.

The launch of HIP also corresponds with the publication of two new RSC Working Papers which have arisen from the project. Working Paper 85, ‘Humanitarian innovation and refugee protection’, puts forward an alternative vision for the global governance of humanitarianism based on the role of ‘humanitarian innovation’. The paper explores the potential of humanitarian innovation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the different sectors that comprise humanitarianism – including water, sanitation, nutrition, communications, livelihoods, shelter and health – using alternative, untapped solutions from private sector actors at local, national and global levels.

Working Paper 86, ‘Refugee livelihoods and the private sector: Ugandan case study’, draws from a case study of urban refugees in Uganda and aims to understand their livelihood strategies as well as their engagement with the business sector. In addition, it attempts to identify refugee relevant livelihood opportunities in the private sector in Kampala. This case study is one of the first steps in the project’s attempt to understand innovation in refugee livelihoods: examining ways in which refugees’ own skills, aspirations, and entrepreneurship offer a basis to develop market-based solutions to refugee protection and assistance. 

The HIP launch event takes place on Thursday 15 November, 5pm, Seminar Room Three, Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB

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