Scoping study: what works in protection and how do we know?


This scoping study focuses on defining and reviewing the effects of different protection activities implemented by humanitarian and human rights organizations. Its core task is to identify key obstacles in defining and measuring what works in protection.

In this study, the term “humanitarian and human rights protection” in emergency settings refers to a set of activities that are concerned with countering violence and other patterns of harm such as sexual exploitation, discrimination, forced displacement and separation of families. Different protection activities are classified into three distinct types of interventions:
Protection intervention type 1: Providing remedy to individual victims of harm
Protection intervention type 2: Reducing risk exposure
Protection intervention type 3: Changing harmful behavior of primary duty bearers.

Chapter 1 of the report provides an introduction. Chapter 2 describes the research approach and methods used to gather and analyze data. Chapter 3 presents the conceptual framework of the study that guides the subsequent discussion on the effects of different types of protection interventions implemented by humanitarian and human rights actors. Drawing on academic literature and evaluation reports, chapter 4 provides a summary description of the quantity and quality of available evidence on successful protection interventions. Chapter 5 sketches out three possible questions for further research into the effects of humanitarian and human rights protection. These are:

  • What are common protection problems and related modes of action used across different contexts and organizations?
  • What are appropriate methods and processes for determining impact and change triggered by different types of protection interventions?
  • What are common external factors that enhance or limit the success of different protection interventions across contexts?


Reichhold, U.; Binder, A.; Niland, N. Scoping study: what works in protection and how do we know? Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), Berlin, Germany (2013) 92 pp.

Scoping study: what works in protection and how do we know?

Published 1 January 2013