Humanitarian Action

GPPi contributes research and advice on humanitarian action from a governance perspective. We support organizations in their quest to maintain the focus on people amidst expanding bureaucratic demands. We ask what it takes to adapt to insecurity while maintaining a principled approach. We accompany reform processes based on a sober analysis of their political economy. We try to understand the roles and interests of different actors involved in the humanitarian sector. Through various methods, we facilitate learning to help organizations improve on what they do and how they do it.

Project report

UNHCR’s Engagement in Humanitarian-Development Cooperation: Final Report

How does UNHCR cooperate with its development partners? And how does their partnership affect refugees? This report offers findings from a three-year evaluation with the International Security and Development Center.

Project report

Independent Review of Individual Donor Assessments in Humanitarian Operations

Despite the Grand Bargain commitment to curb individual donor assessments, the number of donor assessments are on the rise. This report demonstrates why this is happening, which donors are responsible and what can be done to better balance the needs and interests of agencies and donors. 

Evaluation report

Evaluation of WFP Policies on Humanitarian Principles and Access in Humanitarian Contexts

This report assesses how the World Food Programme applies the humanitarian principles and negotiates access, and offers recommendations for improvement.

By Julia Steets, Alexander Gaus, Claudia Meier, Janika Spannagel, Mark Bui, Adele Harmer, Abby Stoddard

Understanding the Dynamics of Humanitarian Data Sharing with Donors

Humanitarian organizations are collecting and sharing an increasing amount of data from the people they assist. If not adequately secured, this information can be used to target specific individuals or communities. We conducted a study on how risks materialize when humanitarian organizations share data on affected people with donors.

Read the full study.

Select Projects


Protecting Civilians from Harm

The aim of this project is to strengthen the protection of civilians by finding out how protection actors attempt to influence armies and non-state armed groups to keep civilian populations safe.


Harmonizing Donor Reporting

Complicated reporting requirements are not just an administrative burden – they often eat up time and energy that would be better spent on the humanitarian response itself. We developed a new template to simplify narrative reporting. Then donors, UN agencies and NGOs tested it for two years, with encouraging results.


Evaluating UNHCR’s Engagement in Humanitarian-Development Cooperation

We are taking stock of UNHCR’s level of cooperation with development actors, assessing the effects of this cooperation, and supporting UNHCR in refining its strategy and operational approach.


Evaluating the Humanitarian System’s Response to Droughts in Ethiopia

Between 2015 and 2018, Ethiopia saw severe droughts that triggered a large-scale international humanitarian response. But did it meet its objectives and the needs of affected people?


Inji El Bakry

Research Associate

Oheneba Boateng

Research Associate

Alexander Gaus

Project Manager

Julian Lehmann

Project Manager

Urban Reichhold

Non-Resident Fellow

Julia Steets


Marie Wagner

Research Associate

Andrea Binder

Non-Resident Fellow

András Derzsi-Horváth

Non-Resident Fellow

Susanna Krüger

Non-Resident Fellow

Claudia Meier

Associate Director

Elias Sagmeister

Non-Resident Fellow

Sofie Lilli Stoffel

Research Associate

Florian Westphal

Non-Resident Fellow

Funding & Contact

Our funders and clients include: the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP), the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the European Commission Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (DG ECHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the German Federal Foreign Office (AA), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Phineo, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the World Food Programme (WFP).

For more information, please contact Julia Steets.