Refugee Innovation Study

Posted By on Sep 25, 2015 | 0 comments

Research helps understand. Therefore here an insight into the study Refugee Innovation: Humanitarian innovation that starts with communities published by by the Humanitarian Innovation Project, University of Oxford, July 2015 with support from the World Humanitarian Summit.

Even under the most challenging constraints, people find ways to engage in creative problemsolving. Refugees, displaced persons, and others caught in crisis often have skills, talents, and aspirations that they draw upon to adapt to difficult circumstances. Although ‘humanitarian innovation’ has been increasingly embraced by the humanitarian world, this kind of ‘bottom-up’ innovation by crisis-affected communities is often neglected in favour of a sector-wide focus on improving the effectiveness of organisational response to crisis. This oversight disregards the capabilities and adaptive resourcefulness that people and communities affected by conflict and disaster often demonstrate. This report focuses on examples and case studies of ‘bottom-up innovation’ among different refugee populations. Whether in the immediate aftermath of displacement or in long-term protracted situations, in both urban and rural areas, refugees frequently engage in innovation. By definition displaced across international borders, refugees face new markets, a new regulatory environment, and new social and economic networks in their host countries. Being adaptive and creative is often necessary in order to meet basic needs, to develop income-generating activities, or to keep long-term aspirations alive. Even where there are legal constraints on the right to work or freedom of movement, the capacity of refugee populations to engage in iterative problem-solving is nearly always evident.

1) Recognise the capacity of crisis-affected communities to engage in innovation.
2) Understand the specific opportunities and constraints to bottom-up innovation in each context.
3) Support an enabling environment for innovation by crisis-affected communities.
4) Use participatory approaches to facilitate and support refugee innovation.
5) Build a humanitarian funding mechanism to support bottom-up innovation.

Link to the study.