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2 How can knowledge translation of robust evidence engage humanitarian practitioners in evidence-based decision-making, and influence guidelines and standards?
  1. Claire Allen1,
  2. Marie McGrath2,
  3. Nick Hooton3,
  4. Marta Valdes Garcia4
  1. 1Evidence Aid, Oxford, UK
  2. 2Emergency Nutrition Network, Oxford, UK
  3. 3ReBuild Programme – Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK
  4. 4Oxfam, Oxford, UK


Background With more than US$27.3 billion spent in 2016 on international humanitarian aid, the use of evidence is critical if funding is to be used effectively. Since Evidence Aid ( was established in 2004, >1.6 billion people have been affected by disasters globally, with the estimated total cost of damages totalling over US$1.3 trillion for the period to 2013. Despite this enormous burden and the real and pressing need to alleviate it, robust evidence of the effects of interventions in humanitarian response remains hard to find. Where robust evidence exists, it is often difficult to access, is scattered across the academic literature, making it difficult for aid organisations to find and use. We will use this parallel session to explore how evidence can be translated in different ways which make it easier to find and use, ensuring decision-making can be as evidence-based as possible.


  • To provide examples of knowledge translation that highlight the access to robust evidence to inform decisions and choices in different humanitarian disasters and emergencies, demonstrating why evidence matters wherever the emergency is in the world.

  • Share examples of the difficulty in conducting research in emergencies and consequent dependence on indirect evidence, ‘low quality’ research, expert opinion and ‘gut feeling’

  • Show some of the challenges in interpreting and translating evidence from a more routine setting when applying it to a disaster or other emergency.

  • Discuss why some interventions are applied despite a lack of evidence.

  • Raise the profile of the use of robust evidence in the humanitarian sector.

  • Showcase the development and role of Evidence Aid, Emergency Nutrition Network, Oxfam and the ReBuild programme.

Description After introducing Evidence Aid, Marie McGrath (Emergency Nutrition Network: ENN), a collaborator on the ‘Nutrition in Emergencies’ collection will present it, discussing how this could contribute to decision-making in malnutrition management. She will present ENNs role in fast-tracking nutrition evidence development and dissemination to influence and learn from practice, as well as presenting examples of relevant global initiatives. The session continues with a presentation from the ReBuild programme describing their experience of translation of health systems research evidence to support long-term positive outcomes in protracted crises. Next Oxfam will discuss the Humanitarian Evidence Programme – a consortia of funders who funded several systematic reviews, and the challenges they faced with getting the evidence that was found into practice. During this session there will be a fully interactive discussion session which will explore different ways of translating evidence to ensure effective and efficient decisions and best use of funds.

Concluding comments By bringing together those who generate the necessary evidence with those who need and want to use it, we will explore the notion of how to improve outcomes for billions of the world’s most vulnerable people. This session will highlight how translation of evidence has the capacity to help agencies access and use evidence in different ways. We need to ensure that knowledge translation is appropriate for and accessible to the humanitarian sector for them to be able to use it in the best ways that they can.

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