The charity, which works with humanitarian organisations, researchers, innovators, and the private sector worldwide, has appointed Dr Marta Tufet, now Head of Policy at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in Geneva, to its nine-strong board of trustees, alongside Ebrima Saidy, Save the Children’s Programme Quality, Evidence, Impact and Innovation Director for the APAC Region in Singapore.
Dr Tufet brings a wealth of experience in research funding and policy to Elrha. Until recently, she was the Executive Director of the UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR), which ensures strategic coherence across UK government departments and research funders of international development, including FCDO, DHSC, BEIS and UKRI. She also led the UK Department of Health’s first £450million Global Health Research Programme.
Dr Tufet said:
“It is an honour to be able to support this organisation. I hope to bring my experience of research funding and the international development sector to help Elrha achieve its mission.”
Throughout her career in health and international development, Dr Tufet – who spent time working at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands and for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – has always been a strong believer in partnerships.
Dr Tufet added:
“Humanitarian crises have acute and long-term impacts that affect millions of people, unfortunately, the knowledge base that informs us on how to respond to these crises is still quite weak.
“Understanding what works is essential, if we are to deliver effective interventions and limited resources to where they are needed most. This can only be achieved by bringing together different research disciplines such as historians, economists, anthropologists, clinicians, and researchers, together with humanitarian respondents. Elrha is one of the few organisations that bring the humanitarian and research sector together.”
Elrha’s board is also bolstered by the appointment of Mr Saidy, a start-up, growth and exit expert with 20 years of experience. Mr Saidy was a key leader in Save the Children’s humanitarian response to the famine in Somalia in 2016.
As the most vulnerable face the effects of climate change, global pandemics and conflict – and where 235 million people require life-saving aid – the need for research and innovation in the humanitarian sector is clear, he said.
Mr Saidy said:
“So much has changed in the humanitarian and development sector over the last 20 years, but so much more needs to change. Agencies like Elrha are important to continue to push the limits to help the industry be more efficient and impactful.
“Innovation is an investable pre-requisite for the humanitarian sector to better serve people’s needs and rights. Central to this process is our ability to generate and use evidence, and Elrha is a critical agency in these efforts.”
Elrha’s nine-strong board of trustees is chaired by Margie Buchanan-Smith, a Senior Research Associate with the Humanitarian Policy Group at ODI and a Visiting Fellow at the Feinstein International Center of Tufts University with more than 30 years of experience in the sector.
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