Emergency Capacity Building

A global project to improve the speed, quality and effectiveness of emergency preparedness and response in the humanitarian community by building capacity at the field, global organizational, and humanitarian sector levels with a focus on staff capacity, accountability and impact measurement, and disaster risk reduction. 


Disasters and emergencies are increasing in frequency, severity and complexity, affecting hundreds of millions of people and stretching the capacity of the global humanitarian system. At the same time, standards are increasingly rigorous and complex, with higher expectations for accountability and impact measurement. As a result, humanitarian relief organizations face challenges at three levels: in the field, within global agency systems and practices, and across the humanitarian sector.

In 2005, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Microsoft Corporation, the IWG launched the first phase of the Emergency Capacity Building (ECB) Project. ECB Phase I pooled the expertise of the participating agencies and their sector partners to produce more than 20 innovative tools, programs and practices to be used in the field in emergencies.

Four initiatives – Staff Capacity, Accountability and Impact Measurement, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) – each produced innovative tools and approaches. Examples include The Good Enough Guide to Accountability and Impact Measurement in Emergencies, the Emergency Simulations Toolkit, and The Building Trust in Emergencies Toolkit. All of these were field tested by the ECB agencies in different field contexts, for example in Ethiopia and Guatemala. The Final Evaluation of Phase I found that intangibles – trust, enthusiasm, and commitment – were also valuable outcomes of increased collaboration.


The ECB Project Phase II aims to improve the speed, quality, and effectiveness of the humanitarian community to save lives, improve welfare, and protect the rights of people in emergency situations.
With 5 years of additional funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and new project grants from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), the UK Department for International Development (DfID), USAID (OFDA), and numerous private donors; these funds provide the vital support to sustain the second phase of the Project.

As one of the six participating agencies, Save the Children is committed to the following three objectives during the five-year Phase II of the Emergency Capacity Building Project:

Objective 1. Improve field-level capacity to prepare for and respond to emergencies in disaster-prone countries. Current consortia countries: Bolivia, Niger, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda).

Objective 2. Increase the speed, quality, and effectiveness of emergency preparedness and response mechanisms within and across IWG agencies.

Objective 3. Contribute to improving the sector’s emergency preparedness and response through collective dialogue, knowledge sharing, learning, and collaborative work with other partners and organizations.

In all three Objectives, ECB Phase II will focus on three cross-cutting themes:

  • Accountability and Impact Measurement (AIM)
  • Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
  • Staff Capacity

For more information, please visit www.ecbproject.org

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