A photo from the Airbel Impact Lab archive
A photo from the Airbel Impact Lab archive
Generate Solutions
Multiple countries

Defining and driving innovative finance

Designing new financing solutions for people affected by conflict

Global humanitarian budgets are not keeping pace with our clients’ needs and aspirations. Airbel is designing and testing new approaches to raising finance, and impactful new ways to use funds before, during and after conflict episodes.

More than 500 million people live in a setting of fragility, conflict or violence; and by 2030, almost 350 million people will live in extreme poverty in these settings, constituting two-thirds of the extreme poor worldwide. Yet the financing deficit for people affected by violent conflict is growing, and what humanitarian finance is available tends to be short-term, fragmented, and slow to react when conflict erupts. Despite years of hype, the potential of new financing approaches for people affected by violent conflict remains largely unfulfilled.

The Defining and Driving Innovative Finance project, funded by USAID and implemented by IRC’s Airbel Impact Lab, aims to (i) map the fragmented innovative finance landscape; (ii) design pilot-ready financing innovations for people affected by violent conflict; and (iii) contribute to the emerging community of practice in this field.

This is the first project that aims to design new financing solutions for people affected by violent conflict, building on recent advances in financing for natural disasters. Airbel will develop innovative finance pilots in three areas. First, we will identify opportunities to use well-established financial instruments – like insurance – to save lives and livelihoods that would otherwise have been lost to violent conflict, shrinking the need for aid. Second, we will build a pipeline of investment opportunities that both improve lives and generate financial returns for investors, increasing the total amount and quality of finance available. Third, we will design new ways to make traditional humanitarian grants more efficient, effective, and catalytic, increasing the impact of every dollar available.

Project Timeline

  • Final report

    This report is the final output from the Defining and Driving Innovative Finance for Humanitarian Response project. The project was funded by USAID and delivered by the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Airbel Impact Lab, and sought to contribute to more efficient and effective financing systems for humanitarian response by (i) mapping the innovative finance landscape, (ii) designing new innovative finance instruments and approaches, and (iii) contributing to the emerging community of practice. Building on recent progress in financing for natural disasters, we focused in this project on innovative finance for people affected by violent conflict.

  • Innovative finance landscaping exercise complete

    Building on extensive desk research, expert consultation, interviews with donor agencies and original data analysis, the landscaping exercise developed a new unified definition of innovative finance and mapped existing financing innovations. Findings from the exercise were shared with partners and are available on request ahead of publication later in 2020.