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Doing research in conflict & humanitarian settings - lessons from health assessments in the Middle East

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Bringing science to the business of doing good…

The divide between operational actors, academia, and information technologists is often immense. Research is commonly seen by operational entities as secondary to response, and technology as an afterthought. In the area of humanitarian aid, data-driven decision-making is imperative, as time and resource allocation are crucial to the lives of those affected by crisis. In order to provide rapid, simple information to field responders, operational managers, and policy makers, the integration of humanitarian response-specific technology is imperative.

The Impact Lab, a data science organisation for social good, works with a wide range of public- and private-sector partners to solve analytical and strategic problems, particularly in the areas of health, education, operations, and sustainability. In the realm of humanitarian aid, the Impact Lab provides complete data solutions in low resource settings, including sound epidemiological methods, valid statistics, and rapid, intuitive analytics.

A recent programme administered by The Impact Lab, the Health Assessment Project, utilises mobile data collection tools and a standardised deployment ‘toolkit’ in order to provide real-time, pertinent, operationally relevant information to NGOs and UN actors in crisis-affected regions of the Middle East (Iraq, Lebanon, & Jordan). Roughly 30,000 displaced persons in the region were assessed for critical health and essential service needs during a two-month period. The Health Assessment Project, as well as other programmes and technology innovations, will be discussed by the Impact Lab staff.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Migration Research Network series.

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