The global pandemic has highlighted that today’s crises are increasingly complex and interconnected, demonstrating a need to draw on interdisciplinary science and find evidence-based solutions to address humanitarian emergencies.

The Social Science and Humanitarian Action Platform (SSHAP) focuses on the social dimensions of public health, conflict, and environment emergencies. Our aim is to ensure that social science evidence helps to better prepare and respond to crises – with a focus on the needs of the most vulnerable.

Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Wellcome Trust, SSHAP is a partnership between the Institute of Development Studies, Anthrologica and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. We align closely with FCDO priorities on climate change and biodiversity; COVID-19 and global health security; science, research, and technology; and humanitarian preparedness and response. We work with the FCDO and other international, national, and local partners to develop recommendations and interventions that are contextually informed, adaptive, and effective.

Streams of action

Network of experts: The driving force behind SSHAP’s work, our network of experts rapidly provides insight, analysis and advice. They have specific in-depth knowledge of geographic areas, at-risk communities and key issues that are significant to preparedness and response. We ensure this expertise is tailored to policy and operational needs and is readily available to partners both on the ground and globally.

Knowledge and evidence on demand: We provide rapid briefings (written and verbal), background reports, case studies and evidence reviews. These are often in response to specific requests by agencies and operational partners:

We maintain relationships with operational organisations – this enables us to move quickly to respond to acute and protracted crises. We have recently responded to several FCDO requests (from country offices and UK) to provide insights for COVID-19 policy and programming:

Operational capacity: We work with social scientists and practitioners based in low- and middle-income countries to deliver workshops, training courses and surge support. In 2019 we developed a social science training curriculum for use in emergencies, and this year we will run the first SSHAP fellowship programme. The fellowship will bring together social scientists and practitioners to learn how to apply their knowledge in emergencies.

Communications and engagement: We use the SSHAP website, twitter, and newsletter to collate and share resources from our active network, circulate evidence and knowledge, encourage learning, and to promote our work.

For more information or to discuss a specific request, please contact [email protected]