This report - based on interviews, literature sampling and financial analysis - describes the humanitarian research landscape and the factors that affect the production and uptake of research outputs relating to humanitarian evidence in Kenya, Uganda and within relevant East African institutions. It makes recommendations for linkages that can be strengthened and for interventions that would strengthen national and regional research capacity on both the user and producer side.
Research and evaluation (R&E) appears to have a limited strategic function and value within the humanitarian landscape in the East Africa region. The R&E system tends to operate independently of host governments and local actors at all levels and is driven by donors. However, there are signs that this is changing and that responsibilities for delivering long-term humanitarian response may be shifting towards regional and national governments and local actors.
The limited extent to which national and local policymakers and practitioners value and can engage with R&E outputs, and are willing and able to act on their findings, as well as the limited linkages between research and policy and practice communities, are significant impediments to the use of evidence by decisionmakers in the East Africa region. The lack of a common and shared research agenda for humanitarian R&E in the region, combined with little shared analysis of data/evidence collected over the long term on cyclical causes and responses to repeated humanitarian crises, limits the potential for a strategic and future-focused body of R&E work in this region.
For the future there is a need for a locally owned, more strategically coherent research agenda which is broader than the current focus on resilience and which links vulnerability to issues such as energy, water, transport infrastructure, digital communications, climate change adaptation and human security. This will be more likely to gain the attention of governments and prove useful in the longer term for tackling humanitarian crises.
Development Initiatives. Humanitarian evidence systems mapping in East Africa. Development Initiatives, Bristol, UK (2016) 68 pp.