Learning from the City: British Red Cross Urban Learning Project Scoping Study

by Amelia B. Kyazze, Paula Baizan and Samuel Carpenter

This scoping study is the first step for the British Red Cross and its partners in better understanding the challenges posed by humanitarian action in urban areas, and how it might approach them more strategically. Although primarily intended for internal learning with the British Red Cross, many of the findings presented are of relevance to other parts of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organisations.

While drawing lessons from humanitarian programmes across the globe, the study focuses principally on evidence from five British Red Cross operational contexts: Haiti (Port-au-Prince), Uganda (Kampala and other cities), Djibouti (Djibouti-ville), Mongolia (Ulaanbataar) and Nepal (Kathmandu).

The study looks at the evolving nature of risk and vulnerability in urban settings and assesses the operational implications of these trends and challenges for the British Red Cross, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the wider humanitarian sector. It highlights five ways forward for the British Red Cross and others:

  1. Sharpening context analysis and assessments
  2. Understanding cash and markets better
  3. Engaging and communicating with complex communities
  4. Adapting to the challenges of land and the built environment
  5. Engaging with urban systems and partnering with local groups and institutions