New programme launched to help poor and vulnerable people cope better with crises

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is leading a new Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)-funded programme which will inform policy and programming on how to help poor and vulnerable people cope better with crises including recurrent shocks, climate crises, humanitarian crises, protracted conflict and forced displacement.

The new Better Assistance in Crises (BASIC) Research programme is led by IDS together with the University of Sussex and the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) at the University of Wolverhampton.

The programme is being managed by Rachel Sabates-Wheeler at IDS and Paul Harvey from Humanitarian Outcomes, alongside research directors, Jeremy Lind (IDS) and Rachel Slater from the Centre for International Development and Training.

Paul Harvey said: “BASIC research is about finding ways to help people through provision of more effective social assistance in places where needs are most desperate, but where getting aid to people is hardest. Research in places such as Yemen, Iraq and Mali will explore ways in which humanitarian aid, social protection systems and adaptations to the climate crisis can work together to help people cope better with crises. We’re really looking forward to working on this critical agenda with the FCDO.”

Over 80 million people now forcibly displaced around the world

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) recently announced that it estimated 80 million people are now forcibly displaced around the world as a result of persecution, conflict, and human rights violations., which continued unabated despite Covid-19.

Harri Lee, Social Protection Adviser in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said:

“We know that poverty is increasing — driven by conflict, climate change and now Covid-19. Crises are increasingly protracted or recurrent and humanitarian needs are rising, whilst financing and delivery models are mainly short-term and reactive. Social protection systems and approaches can help address these constraints; however, they are underutilised and one of the reasons is a lack of evidence.”

FCDO are pleased to partner with the IDS-led consortium for BASIC Research. This work will strengthen the evidence on what works to effectively deliver social assistance in different crisis contexts, so that vulnerable people, in particular women, children and people with disabilities, can cope better with crises and meet their basic needs.”

BASIC Research will look at:

  1. Routine, effective, and efficient delivery (what works)
  2. Financing and value for money – how can financing for basic assistance in crises by sustained, more nationally led, better value for money and less reliant on humanitarian aid?
  3. Principled and inclusive – what prevents social assistance reaching all those who need it and meeting the specific needs of vulnerable groups? How can coverage be extended?
  4. Politics and the role of the state – how can states best be supported to expand coverage and include refugees and other excluded groups and how can transitions to more nationally led social assistance be supported?
  5. Risks, accountability and technology – how can the risks and benefits of new technologies best be managed and how can accountability be strengthened?
  6. Climate and resilience – how can social assistance in crises contribute to greater resilience to shocks (including climate shocks) and support climate adaptation?
  7. Transformation – how can social assistance in crises aim to be transformative and promotive as well as protective?

BASIC (Better Assistance in Crises) Research is an FCDO-funded research programme and will run from 2020 to 2024.


This article first published by the Institute of Development Studies on 12 January 2021.

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