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About the ECB Project

The Emergency Capacity Building (ECB) Project aimed 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.

How did the ECB Project start?

The Project started in 2004 when emergency directors from seven agencies ? CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam GB, Save the Children and World Vision International ? met to discuss the most persistent challenges in humanitarian aid delivery. An Inter-Agency Working Group (IWG) on Emergency Capacity was formed after this meeting and published a Report on Emergency Capacity the following year. It identified key capacity gaps constraining the ability to provide timely, effective and high quality preparedness and response to emergencies. Following this, the ECB Project intiative began, spanning eight years (Phase I- 2005-2008 and Phase II -2008-2013).

Phase I of the Project involved the development and publishing of more than 20 research findings, field tools, and practical guides

Phase II continued to work toward meeting the overarching project goal of improving the speed, quality, and effectiveness of the humanitarian community. Phase II differed from Phase I in that it was designed to create impact in the field and across the humanitarian sector. 

The ECB Project's intiatives were focused on three thematic areas:

These themes were addressed through specific multi-agency activities outlined in Consortia Engagement Plans (CEPs) and Agency Performance Improvement Plans (APIPs).

Working Together

The Project shared knowledge and learning, and worked with and through existing sector standards, agencies, and networks such as UNIASC, UNOCHA, Sphere, People in Aid, ALNAP, Inter-Action, HAP International, and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Needs Assessment Task Force (NATF). All publications and resources are freely available to download in multiple languages. For detailed articles about the Project?s work see the archive of ECB newsletters


ECB Phase I (2006-2008) was made possible by the generous support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Microsoft Corporation.

ECB Phase II (2009-2013) was made possible thanks to the continued support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The European Commission?s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Directorate General (ECHO), The UK Department for International Development (UKAID / DfID),OFDA (USAID), and several private donors.

Specific Programs

DFID (the UK Department for International Development) funded the development of the Contribution to Change Guide. 

Toward Resilience: A Guide to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) was possible thanks to contributions from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID?s OFDA, ECHO, Fidelity Charitable Trustees? Philanthropy Fund, and ECB Project agencies Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, and Mercy Corps.