Disasters and shocks are occurring more frequently and often with greater intensity than ever before. Chronic stressors and prolonged crises have become the norm, displacing communities and disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable (Global Resilience Partnership, 2019). The global humanitarian response to disasters, conflict, and on-going crises is struggling to meet demand. On average, 350 million people are affected by disasters annually (Global Humanitarian Overview, 2019). Need greatly outstrips funding as evidenced by a 40 percent gap in coverage for United Nations (UN) led humanitarian response plans (Global Humanitarian Overview, 2019) and a 28 percent gap in Somalia (Financial Tracking Service, 2019). Conflict and climate change will continue to drive and shape humanitarian need across the globe. Somalia mirrors many of these trends where the triple nexus of conflict, disaster, and development collide.
The Response Innovations for Somalia Emergencies (RISE) program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) seeks to improve how humanitarian stakeholders prepare for and respond to disasters in Somalia by increasing knowledge of the ecosystem of actors, factors, and relationships shaping innovation within the humanitarian sector. RISE is led by the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs (GW/ESIA) and in collaboration with the Somali Disaster Resilience Institute (SDRI) and the Somalia Resilience Program (SomReP). Together, these partners are testing and implementing the global Response Innovation Lab’s (RIL) approach to improve stakeholders’ understanding of humanitarian innovation in Somalia.
Specifically, RISE and its partners undertook an innovation ecosystem mapping exercise and conducted specific research as part of a broader effort to improve stakeholders’ understanding of humanitarian innovation across the following knowledge blocks:
• Common understanding and definition of humanitarian innovations in the Somali context.
• Increased knowledge of factors and conditions that enable affected Somali community voices to drive the humanitarian innovation design process.
• Increased knowledge of factors and conditions that lead to successful and failed humanitarian innovations in the Somali context.
• Increased knowledge of factors and conditions to scale innovations using the MatchMaker in Somalia.