From the Editors

Innovation is not new. Displaced people themselves and those attempting to assist and protect them have always been having new ideas about how to deal with their needs. Everything that we think of now as part of the ‘normal’ landscape of displacement – the whole infrastructure of institutions, organisations and governments that circumscribes the context within which displaced people find themselves – was at one point new. There are reasons for much that is now considered normal yet the imperfections are obvious in the challenges that we continue to face, challenges which ensure that displaced people are often unable to do what they need to do, that they do not receive the support they need, and that the organisations providing support do not function as effectively as would be desirable.

And the world of course goes on changing and new contexts arise. With a deliberate focus on looking at old problems in new ways, and on seeking and fostering innovation itself, there should be an enhanced likelihood that new products can be developed, new ways of working can be devised, new modalities and paradigms can emerge, to make the lives of displaced people better, more sustainable and less risky.

The title – ‘Innovation and refugees’ – of this special supplement of Forced Migration Review reflects the focus of the Humanitarian Innovation Project (HIP) with whom we have worked to publish this collection of articles. The eleven articles include contributions from HIP’s Humanitarian Innovation Conference (held in Oxford in July 2014) and reflect some of the thinking behind humanitarian innovation for displaced people, and some of its current manifestations.

We are very grateful to Alexander Betts of the Refugee Studies Centre for his support and assistance on this issue. We would also like to thank the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their generous financial support.

The full issue and all individual articles are online in html, pdf and audio formats at It will be available in print and online in English only, and is being distributed along with FMR 47 on the ‘Syria crisis, displacement and protection’ .

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Details of forthcoming issues of FMR – on Faith-based responses to displacement, Climate change, and the Balkans – can be found at

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With our best wishes

Marion Couldrey and Maurice Herson
Editors, Forced Migration Review


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