Author: Global Disaster Preparedness Center

Call for applications: Research grants on inclusive early warning early action

Source(s): Global Disaster Preparedness Center
Regional Launch of the Early Warnings for All Initiative (EW4ALL) for the Caribbean
Regional Early Warning Systems Consortium (REWSC) Meeting in Barbados

The Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) is proud to announce the launch of its Small Grants Research Program focused on inclusivity and accessibility of early warning early action among last mile communities. In collaboration with the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) and in support of the achievement of the REAP Global Targets, this program aims to enhance literature on early warning early action and contribute to the expansion of the evidence base for more inclusive and people-centered approaches.


The program intends to provide support to scholars who traditionally have limited access to funding. As a result, grants offered through this program are exclusively available to researchers from low- and middle-income countries. By doing so, we hope to support and amplify the voices of researchers from diverse backgrounds and regions.

The research grants are limited to $10,000 and must be completed by April 30, 2024. The research is expected to be original, and any form of plagiarism will result in disqualification from the grant at any stage of the process. We encourage researchers to approach their projects with creativity and innovation, enabling them to choose their preferred methods and approaches.

To learn more about the program's terms and conditions, we invite you to explore the Frequently Asked Questions section on this page.


Despite the proven effectiveness of early warning early action in reducing disaster impacts and saving lives, around one-third of the global population is still not covered by early warning systems. Furthermore, research indicates that even when information reaches at-risk communities, it is often not properly perceived or acted upon to mitigate risks. 

Communication barriers, social and cultural stigma, lack of accessibility of infrastructure, and the absence of effective social safety nets continue to prevent communities from accessing timely early warning and risk information. These obstacles disproportionately affect marginalized and minority groups, making it even more difficult for them to access and act on early warning information. These groups are often referred to as "last mile communities," as they are the farthest away, most difficult to reach, and/or the last to benefit from programs or services. 

In addition to warning dissemination, an important aspect of early warning systems is response capability, which means that at-risk communities are prepared and have resources to respond to warnings received. Often, support is provided through cash and voucher assistance (CVA), which helps households address needs related to early action such as improving mobility during evacuations, purchasing extra food supplies for sheltering, securing homes or protecting livelihoods. By bolstering people’s capacity to take early action before the hazard event, these measures further strengthen their ability to protect themselves. 

In this context, anticipatory action offers a promising solution by delivering faster, more sustainable, predictable, coordinated, and cost-effective aid prior to the onset of a disaster. The inclusivity of these programs remains a challenge for last mile communities as they often have lower levels of literacy and technological proficiency, as well as limited access to social protection and financial services. 

Through this program, the GDPC seeks to expand the knowledge and evidence base for inclusive and accessible early warning early action by fostering a better understanding of the barriers that prevent last mile communities from accessing, comprehending, and acting on early warning information and benefiting from resources that enable early action. Recognizing these barriers and identifying factors that impact them is a crucial step to designing more inclusive and people-centered early warning and early action approaches.  

Research objectives

  1. Investigate barriers faced by last mile communities in accessing, understanding and acting upon early warnings, and explore factors that impact inclusivity of early warnings.
  2. Draw lessons and insights from the field to make early warning more inclusive and effective .
  3. Identify and map existing local solutions that enable effective early warning early action among vulnerable groups .
  4. Gather evidence of early actions taken by individuals following the receipt of a hazard alert or evacuation order and outline financial resources needed to support those actions. 

Research Topics And Questions

The research grant program aims to stimulate new knowledge and exploration in priority research questions under the following topics. Research proposals should address only one or two of the research questions under one of the topics listed below. 

Topic 1

Accessibility, inclusivity, and actionability of early warning messages among last mile communities

  • Question 1.1: What are the barriers to accessing early warning messages? 
  • Question 1.2: What factors impact comprehension and inclusivity of early warnings?
  • Question 1.3: Are last mile communities able to take preventative action based on early warning messages? What influences the actionability of early warning messages among last mile communities? 

Topic 2

Strategies to improve accessibility and actionability of early warning messages among last mile communities

  • Question 2.1: What community-developed solutions to early warning early action challenges help enhance their inclusivity and accessibility?
  • Question 2.2: What policies or interventions employed by local governments, civil society organizations, or RCRC National Societies help increase uptake and improve inclusion and accessibility of early warning early action among last mile communities?  

Topic 3

Resource accessibility in facilitating early action among last mile communities

  • Question 3.1: If given financial support (cash and voucher assistance (CVA), remittances or other financial resources) in a forecast window of a hazard, what actions do individuals or communities take that they wouldn't have taken otherwise?
  • Question 3.2: What are the impacts of financial support (cash and voucher assistance (CVA), remittances or other financial resources) when used in advance of hazards to reduce impact and save lives? 


Applicants must be affiliated with an accredited university or a research institution at the time of submission, including undergraduate, graduate, post-doctorate students, and faculty members. Teams of researchers are welcome to submit proposals, and collaboration among different institutions is highly encouraged

Identification of an experienced supervisor is required for any student research teams. The supervisor should provide guidance and oversight throughout the research process.

Applications are open to researchers from low and middle-income countries only, and their research must focus on those countries. This list of eligible countries can be found here.

Abstracts should address only one or two of the research questions under one topic provided above.

Researchers have the flexibility to conduct their research in a language of their preference. However, the final research paper must be submitted in English. If translation in English is needed, the budget proposal should include the estimated costs for translation services.

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