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Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge

Posted March 11, 2018

Today, over 136 million people require humanitarian assistance. Hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people in conflict zones are currently unreachable by traditional humanitarian aid delivery. As the length, frequency and scope of armed conflicts increase, it is progressively more difficult to reach affected people in insecure areas with life-saving and life-improving humanitarian assistance.

International aid agencies face challenges in delivering humanitarian aid in conflict-affected contexts, including damaged infrastructure, aid diversion, corruption and threats of violence. Local responders are often better placed to reach affected people in insecure settings, but lack the funding or resources, or the capacity to provide aid in hard-to-reach places.

As the scale of humanitarian emergencies continues to grow at a rate that surpasses the capacity of any one partner or sector to respond, new ways of thinking and working together are imperative. Engagement with the private sector is essential in developing new approaches to complement traditional ways of delivering humanitarian aid. The private sector is often uniquely effective at scaling sustainable solutions and in improving the speed, quality and cost-efficiency of delivering or manufacturing commodities and utilities, recycling products and financing or developing innovative solutions.

To improve assistance in conflict-generated crises, the United States Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and Grand Challenges Canada have launched Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge.

We seek life-saving or life-improving innovations to help the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict. These innovations will involve a connection to the private sector and input from affected communities in order to provide, supply, or locally generate safe drinking water and sanitation, energy, life-saving information, or health supplies and services to help conflict-affected people.


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