Living repository of knoweldge

The Humanitarian Encyclopedia will show the commonalities and divergences that exist in the way main concepts related to humanitarian action are used by practitioners.

By assessing different meanings, perceptions, uses and applications of concepts; by engaging humanitarian stakeholders in reflecting on these; and by offering an innovative knowledge-sharing platform to co-create & disseminate, the Humanitarian Encyclopedia will:

  • Improve mutual understanding among practitioners by equipping them with a tool to understand each other’s stance on humanitarian action and to improve communication
  • Make the sector more legible to external stakeholders (such as media, government, public opinions)
  • Accompany the localization of humanitarian knowledge by reflecting how emerging humanitarian actors and local community leaders understand and perceive humanitarian action
  • Contribute to the training of current and future generations of humanitarian practitioners
  • Lay the foundations for the development of “humanitarian studies”

The Humanitarian Encylopedia will build a bridge between the academic world and the humanitarian community which includes humanitarian organizations and practitioners, humanitarian support groups, policy makers, and community leaders from affected populations.

The project is a four-staged journey, gathering academics and practitioners to:

  • PHASE 1: Select the Encyclopedia’s entries. WHAT are the most salient concepts and clusters of concepts in humanitarian practice?
  • PHASE 2 : Describe conceptual variation. HOW are those concepts divergently used by humanitarian practitioners?
  • PHASE 3 : Analyze the causes of conceptual variation. WHY are concepts used divergently? How do organizational, geographical and disciplinary factors give concepts their distinct meaning over time?
  • PHASE 4 : Explore the IMPACTS of conceptual variation on humanitarian practices. What are the assets and drawbacks of conceptual variation?

Partnerships are the DNA of the project : academics from a broad range of scholarly disciplines and practitioners from various background will collectively co-create the Humanitarian Encyclopedia through surveys, regional workshops, case studies and online communities of practice. Early research results will be shared and opened to discussions through an online platform structured into conceptual and thematic entries.