Social Science in Humanitarian Action: a Communication for Development Platform

The Social Science in Humanitarian Action: A Communication for Development Platform aims to establish networks of social scientists with regional and subject expertise to rapidly provide insight, analysis and advice, tailored to demand and in accessible forms, to better design and implement the social and communication dimensions of emergency responses.

The need to bring in anthropological perspectives to humanitarian crises was highlighted by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. In reference to the most recent set of Ebola cases in the DRC (2018) founder and director of Anthrologica, Juliet Bedford, a partner of the platform explains the ‘Anthropologists can provide intellegence about the context of response for getting things rights. It is important to understand things not just from a clinical perspective, but also from a sociocultural perspective’

Listen to the full interview with the BBC World Service

The Platform is a partnership between UNICEF and Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and support from Anthrologica.

Visit the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform website

Key contacts

Image of Santiago Ripoll
Santiago Ripoll

Research Officer

Project details

start date
1 October 2016
end date
31 December 2020


In partnership with
Supported by

About this project


Image of Alice Webb
Alice Webb

Digital Knowledge Coordinator

Image of Annie Wilkinson
Annie Wilkinson

Research Fellow

Image of Santiago Ripoll
Santiago Ripoll

Research Officer

Recent work


COVID-19 – a social phenomenon requiring diverse expertise

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the world, one thing is clear: this epidemic, like all others, is a social phenomenon. The dynamics of the virus, infection and immunity, not to mention on-going efforts to revise and improve clinical care, and endeavours to develop medical treatments and...

20 March 2020


Key Considerations: COVID-19 in Informal Urban Settlements (March 2020)

This brief sets out key considerations for protecting informal urban settlements from the spread and impacts of COVID-19. There is heightened concern about these settings because of the combination of population density and limited infrastructure. This briefing discusses what is known about...

1 March 2020


Social dimensions of the COVID-19 outbreak in China and beyond

IDS Director Professor Melissa Leach and Research Fellow Dr Hayley MacGregor have been working with colleagues at the Wellcome Trust and the WHO on integrating social sciences into the COVID-19 response, as the virus continues to cause concern globally. A new report has now been published on...

18 February 2020


Key Considerations: Quarantine in the Context of COVID-19

This brief sets out practical considerations relating to the design and impact of measures that restrict human movement patterns in the context of COVID-19. These measures include: quarantine, in which individuals who have been exposed to a communicable disease are separated from others for the...

1 February 2020


Where is social science in the coronavirus response?

As the number of cases increase, with 6,065 confirmed cases and 132 deaths, we are learning more about coronavirus (nCoV) by the day and how it is spreading within China and globally. As crucial medical and epidemiological knowledge is being produced in real time, we believe that there is an...

31 January 2020