Using innovative finance to help the Red Cross rehabilitate people with disabilities

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) commissioned us to identify and assess medium- and long-term opportunities to bring sustainable funding to its Physical Rehabilitation Programme activities through new financing models. 

Why are we doing this?

The ICRC’s Physical Rehabilitation Programme (PRP) provides services to people with disabilities in contexts of conflict and violence. Although the ICRC initially intervenes in humanitarian crises, the needs of PRP service users exist well beyond the context of a humanitarian intervention, and therefore, the Programme requires longer term funding horizons than are currently possible through humanitarian funding sources. 

Key challenges include securing sources of funding and supporting the intended scope, scale, and timelines of physical rehabilitation services.

The project aimed to explore possible solutions to these challenges by identifying and assessing medium and long-term opportunities to bring sustainable funding to its PRP activities through new financing models (NFMs) – in other words, return and non-return seeking instruments that seek to capture new and diversified income beyond direct grants.

What we are doing

The project is split into two phases. In the first phase of the project, we undertook a number of activities, including:

  • Reviewing ICRC’s main PRP business models to identify those most suited to NFMs through a bespoke business model framework, analysing unmet country needs against delivery partner capacity.
  • Identifying a longlist of NFMs and their key features and then prioritising a shortlist of three NFMs and specific country studies that could be designed and launched in the short to medium term.
  • Developing a plan of action and strategic recommendations for ICRC to take forward.

In the second phase of the project, we:

  • Developed a playbook on replicating the Phase 1 assessment across other ICRC Métiers.
  • Supported the NFM team in implementing the next steps to prepare for launching the three prioritised NFMs in Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Rwanda. The work included the development of operational and financial models to support further NFM design and creation of stakeholder outreach materials. 

Impacts and insights

The project has the potential for impact at scale, as the prioritised NFMs represent building blocks towards transforming the global physical rehabilitation agenda. We were able to assist the ICRC, the largest NGO in the world, in adapting to new ways of working in order to place outcomes and accountability at the centre of their operations. 

Specific milestones included:

  • Strengthening the NFM team’s capacity at the ICRC by delivering a series of workshops and a playbook on innovative finance related topics.
  • Prioritising a shortlist of three NFMs, with specific country studies ready for design and implementation. 
  • Identifying implementation partners for the Rwanda programme (the University of Rwanda, HoGent University, Human Study, and World Physiotherapy).
  • Progressing over 15 stakeholder outreach conversations, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank. 

Related work

Stay up to date

Sign up to our mailing list for regular updates.

We'll keep your data secure and won't share it outside of Social Finance, ever. For more details read our privacy policy.