Enabling rapid post-disaster repair: innovative institutional decisions

UCL and Habitat for Humanity were unsuccessful in their invited resubmission to the Humanitarian Innovation Fund Large Grant Facility.

Here is the proposal for anyone who wants to take it forward as well as the feedback from the HIF panel.

"Your application was well scored by most in the group of reviewers, however there was one member who did not consider the project wholly innovative, this reduced the overall scoring and therefore was not shortlisted. Hopefully the comments from the reviewers will be of use to you:

  • ‘Although the promotion of post disaster housing repair and reconstruction is not in itself innovative, an approach to changing knowledge, attitudes and practice in an integrated way for relevant for ALL actors is a new area of research.’
  • Relevance / Impact: This project is highly relevant, given criticisms of current shelter approaches. This seeks to realistically address issues of focusing more on (developmental approaches) of repair
  • Methodology / Approach: the timeframe of 12 months is short, 18 months would be better
  • Feasibility: Clarity of intent is there
  • Team Composition / Capacity to implement: A good team that combines practice with academic rigour

The proposal has been thoughtfully revised, and framing the project as assessing the need to change knowledge, attitudes and practice is now a major strength. Two major concerns remain regarding the proposed activities.

  1. The focus on Haiti for the case study. Although the post 2010 earthquake shelter response in Haiti was fragmented, this was exacerbated by the exceptional scale of this disaster, lack of a functioning government and a regulatory environment, the significant resources available, and the multiplicity of operational agencies. Within a year a more coherent approach to housing recovery had been widely adopted, including repair, rental etc. This project would benefit from identifying one or two more typical medium scale post disaster contexts, with a functioning Govt and regulatory environment and modest recovery resources.
  2. The project also proposes addressing the institutional decision-making challenges within Habitat for Humanity. As HFH are a housing organisation, focussing on housing development/construction, they are an atypical representation of the wider housing sector. For the project to have sector wide benefit it would be beneficial for the project to address the internal decision-making processes with agencies for whom shelter/reconstruction is but one of the sectors they focus on, and not necessarily a core competency."

HIF, February 2014