This week is the 6th edition of the International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) International Humanitarian Research ConferenceThe French Red Cross Foundation, co-organizer of this event, proposes two panels on the management of risks and disasters and on the effects of epidemics on volunteering. It is also during this conference that the Foundation will present its annual research awards.


Bridging the gaps between knowledge and action in Disaster Risk Reduction

Thursday 4 November 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm/ Panel in hybrid mode and translated into English

According to the International Federation of the Red Cross’ World Disasters Report 2020, the number of climate and weather related disasters such as floods, droughts, heatwaves or severe storms is on the rise and is expected to keep growing in the coming years. The impacts of climate change and such climate-induced disasters on health are therefore getting more and more serious globally, increasing mortality and morbidity rates.  In this context, reducing risk and strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and disasters becomes one of the most pressing issue of the 21st century. Yet, if a large amount of studies have been produced on disaster-related issues over the last 60 years, there continues to be gaps in translating knowledge into action. This panel will discuss these gaps and inconsistencies between research and practice, outlining the need for a more open, free and integrative dialogue between Disaster Risk Reduction researchers and stakeholders. Panelists will question whether humanitarian actors, government representatives, and policy-makers have risen to the challenge set by the proponents of the so-called vulnerability paradigm in the 1970s and propose ways for bridging these gaps in the future.

  • Vincent Léger, in charge of Research at the French Red Cross Foundation and Doctor of Anthropology
  • Cheick Kane, Climate Resilience Policy Officer for the West Africa Region at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Centre
Panelists and titles of interventions
  • Annabelle Moatty, Researcher with the Joint RECOVER Research Unit and Doctor of Geography : « Identifying and analysing leverages and obstacles facing post-cyclone recovery in Saint-Martin, Caribbean »
  • Ibrahim Ngila Kikuni, student in International Politics : « The Protection of People with Disabilities in Crisis: Case of the Nyiragongo Volcanic Eruption of May 2021 in Goma »
  • Francisca Espinoza, clinical psychologist and sociology doctor : « The memory of disasters in risk reduction »
  • Mampionona Rakotonirina, meteorologist engineer : « Collaboration between research and action: a necessity for disaster risk reduction – Case of housing reconstruction following the earthquake of January 12, 2010 in Haiti »

Find the presentation of the panel on the event website by clicking here

2021 Research Awards Ceremony

Thursday 4 November 6:00pm- 7:00pm/ Ceremony in hybrid mode translated into English 
This ceremony is followed by a moment of conviviality from 7:00pm to 8:30pm

«I see these Prizes as encouragement to engage further and to work harder to disseminate knowledge so that all of this research can be appreciated by the greatest number. »

Yasmine Bouagga, 2020 Research Awards Winner

Each year, the French Red Cross Foundation rewards the most innovative research paths, profiles of promising young researchers and committed careers that put research at the service of the most vulnerable This year was during the 6th edition of the international conference of the International humanitarian studies association (IHSA) Sciences Po Paris, which will be presented with these annual research awards.

Through these awards, the Foundation aims to reward scientific excellence and human engagement. Open to all humanitarian and social science subjects and to all nationalities, the French Red Cross Foundation’s Research Awards promote scientific word that is already completed, honour an exemplary career path, encourage research that is underway or highlight innovative areas of reflection, dedicated to humanitarian and social issues.

Aid workers at the frontlines: studying effects of epidemics on volunteering

Friday 5 November 1:30pm – 3:00pm/ Panel in hybrid mode and translated into English

Like the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, humanitarian and social actors around the world quickly mobilized alongside public health authorities to participate in the effort to protect populations facing the Covid-19 epidemic. In this exceptional and sustainable context, the question of the impact of prevention measures, lockdown management or assistance to people with the virus on the physical and psychological well-being of those involved has become a priority for these actors working somehow to the continuity of their actions. Also, little is known on volunteers’ involvement in an epidemic response, unlike other more studied emergency contexts such as armed conflicts or natural disasters. While some studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of volunteer action in supporting epidemic response interventions, others have highlighted the institutional, social and psychological factors that affect the well-being of those involved, as well as factors associated with resilience and post-event burnout. A better understanding of the factors influencing the motivations of volunteers, and their coping strategies to overcome the psychological and social consequences of their involvement in the response to an epidemic would help humanitarian and social actors to develop strategies for committed staff protection, and the continuity of their actions, for the benefit of the populations they help. This is why, echoing WHO and GloPID-R network’s roadmap of early 2020 (WHO, A coordinated Global Research Roadmap), which encouraged social sciences research on relevant, acceptable and achievable approaches, to support the physical health and psychosocial needs of those engaged in the response to the Covid-19 epidemic, this panel invites scientists and practitioners to share reflections and research results on the benefits and challenges of this particular action, in this particular context, whatever the epidemic.

  • Virginie Troit, Executive Director of the French Red Cross Foundation
  • Julienne Anoko, socio-anthropologist and winner of the “2015 Research award” of the French Red Cross Foundation
Panelists and titles of interventions
  • Stéphanie Maltais, University of Ottawa researcher and Doctor on International Development : « Descriptive study of the flexibility of Canadian humanitarian workers during the COVID-19  »
  • Khoudia SOW, anthropologist affiliated with the Regional Center for Research and Training in Clinical Management of Fann and doctor : « Socio-sanitarian challenges in emergency mobilisation : the Corafmob project case study »
  • Hamed Seddighi Khavidad, management of the humanitarian services of the Iranian Red Crescent Society : « Managment approach of online volunteering during Covid-19 among the Iranian Red Crescent »
  • Leonard Heyerdahl, Doctor in Social Science and researcher in the Unit of Ecology and Anthropology of Emerging Diseases of the Institut Pasteur : « Coping mecanisms of humanitarian workers during pandemies in Ile-de-France »

Find the presentation of the panel on the event website by clicking here

Top photo credit: @Nicolas BEAUMONT