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Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


HCRI is a partner in the consortium that delivers the Knowledge, Evidence and Learning for Development (K4D) programme. The K4D programme supports learning and the use of evidence to improve the impact of development policy and programmes. The programme is designed to assist DFID and other partners to be innovative and responsive to rapidly changing and complex development challenges.

The evidence of what works in these challenging and uncertain contexts is highly complex. Without this evidence, programmes would not be designed for maximum impact and could be poor value for money. K4D provides an integrated approach to linking organisational learning processes with the use of evidence from research. A key part of this approach is a rapid response research helpdesk service and foresight reports. Dylan O’Driscoll, HCRI research associate, has written over 20 helpdesk reports for the programme, many of which are published on the Institute of Development Studies OpenDocs website. Below are three featured examples of these reports. 

UAVs in humanitarian relief and wider development contexts

The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, commonly referred to as drones) is no longer purely the domain of the military and new uses are constantly being developed. In humanitarianism and development the utilisation of UAVs is still a relatively new concept, but their importance and range of purposes is growing daily.  There are, however, a number of criticisms of their use. Many of these criticisms are linked to their origins as tools of war, the perceived technological colonisation of the Global South, and the use of humanitarianism to develop and market technologies for commercial use. This rapid review synthesises the literature on the use of UAVs in humanitarianism and development, whilst highlighting the potential future uses that have been flagged. It must be noted that due to the rapid development of this technology and the secretiveness that is often paired with commercial developments it is difficult to create a complete and up-to-date list of the uses and developments of UAVs.

Violent extremism and terrorism in Yemen

This rapid review synthesises findings from rigorous academic, practitioner, and policy references, focusing on research produced after 2014 and the most recent escalation of conflict in Yemen, in order to examine the drivers behind, and the (un)appeal of, violent extremism in the country. As a conflict site, Yemen has been much under-reported and researched and as a result there are limited studies on the various dynamics of violent extremism in Yemen. Consequently, this report also points to research gaps and highlights areas where further research on violent extremism in Yemen is needed. 

Lessons from peace processes

This rapid review synthesises findings from rigorous academic, practitioner, and policy references to illustrate lessons that can be learnt from both successful and failed peace processes. Drawing on such lessons increases one’s knowledge and understanding of the process and helps in the context-driven development of a new peace process (Rose, 1991). This report borrows from the case studies of Northern Ireland, South Africa, Sudan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, and Iraq. Rather than dividing the analysis into regions, this review examines three stages of peace processes (negotiations, agreements, and implementation). This approach enables an examination of quantitative literature that utilises a number of case studies, thus providing a more thorough overview of the lessons available.