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Humanitarian Response

From natural disasters to pandemics, a humanitarian crisis requires quick action—and a longer-term plan. BCG’s humanitarian response consultants collaborate across the private, public, and social sectors to drive new and innovative approaches.

A humanitarian crisis may spark suddenly, but it’s likely to affect lives—and often imperil them—for months or even years. COVID-19 has made that all too clear. Emergency preparedness is crucial; so, too, are smart strategies for immediate disaster relief and longer-term recovery. That’s a tall order, especially when resources are limited, logistics are difficult, and the urgency is high.

A humanitarian response should be innovative, agile, and adaptive. This means applying data analytics and emerging technologies in tackling an emergency, whether it’s a flood, an earthquake, a pandemic, or a refugee crisis. And it means partnering across sectors, often in unique and novel ways. For while a humanitarian crisis may seem all too familiar, the most effective response will likely look all new.

Our Experience in Humanitarian Response

We have responded to many manmade and natural disasters, marshaling a global network of experts and innovative end-to-end approaches. Our work spans the three key phases of humanitarian response:

1. Immediate Response

2. Recovery

3. Emergency Preparedness

Humanitarian response is about deploying resources in the most effective manner. We draw on a unique breadth of expertise, methodologies, and relationships to develop and carry out the optimal humanitarian relief strategy.

  • Partnerships. Our experts regularly collaborate with NGOs, UN agencies, governments, and the private sector. We’ve partnered with the WFP—the world’s largest humanitarian organization—on a range of strategic, operational, and organizational issues since 2003. And we’ve worked with Save the Children since 2006, helping the organization provide humanitarian relief in multiple crises such as the 2010 flood in Pakistan and the 2011 earthquake in Japan, and relief response—including digital initiatives—in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • Experts. Our global reach and cross-industry experience let us call on experts in an array of topic areas, including data and analytics, logistics, supply chain management, evidence-based decision support, coordination, and new ways of working. We deploy the right people for the situation, so we can deliver the right humanitarian response—fast.
  • Digital, Technology, and Data. We use new tools and technologies to transform humanitarian response. After Japan’s devastating earthquake, we created a platform to support distance learning for children in affected areas. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we employed analytics to design a rebuilding program that helped over 100,000 New Yorkers return to their homes on an accelerated schedule. And during the COVID-19 crisis, BCG GAMMAexperts in epidemiology, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics—collaborated with the BCG Henderson Institute to create an epidemiological model to forecast how the pandemic would evolve for more than 50 countries.

Meet Our Humanitarian Response Consultants

Examples of Our Humanitarian Response Consulting Work

In our work across industries, we’ve seen the power of innovation in spurring success. Humanitarian response is no different. Here are some of the ways we’re exploring creative—and better—humanitarian relief solutions:

A New Approach to Humanitarian Investing

Humanitarian and resilience investments (HRIs) continue to increase, however, scaling them to impact is complex and requires cross-sector collaboration, innovation, and support. BCG partnered with WEF to uncover the current challenges hampering HRI market expansion and offer strategies to overcome them.

Empowering Parents With a Stunting-Free Village Model in Rwanda

Stunting—impaired development due to poor nutrition and other factors—is a complex and life-long problem. Applying Smart Simplicity, WFP, BCG, and partners developed a collaborative, feedback-based model to prevent it.

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What's the best way to get food to refugees? Our study—of more than 3,000 refugee households in Jordan and Lebanon—found that those receiving unrestricted cash, via ATMs, had up to 15% more purchasing power and similar or better food security than those who received vouchers.

Learn More About Humanitarian Response

EmPowering Africa's Most Vulnerable

Empowering Africa's Most Vulnerable

There is an immediate need to address the widening energy access gap impacting Sub-Saharan Africa. With NORCAP and BCG, explore how clean energy offers real solutions.

The Private Sector's Role in Humanitarian Crises

David Young clarifies the private sector's role in preparing for humanitarian crises for the good of the business, its employees, and the country in which it operates.

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