The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has announced an open call for the Refugee-led Innovation Fund to reshape their participation in the delivery of humanitarian work by placing them at the centre of decisions affecting their lives, and ensuring that they lead the identification of needs and the design of innovative solutions.
The Fund provides a holistic support mechanism combining financial resources, mentoring and other expertise directly to organisations led by people who experience forced displacement. This will enable them to design new interventions which will have a lasting positive impact on their communities.
The Refugee-Led Innovation Fund proposes a fundamental shift in programme architecture. It takes a grassroot approach whereby organizations led by people who experience forced displacement are directly provided with meaningful financial resources and the support required to implement innovative approaches.
To achieve its objective, the Fund has adopted the following approach:
- Support forcibly displaced people to identify challenges and opportunities, and develop solutions that can have lasting impact within their communities.
- Provide a holistic support mechanism tailored to their requests, including financial support, mentorship and technical expertise across the innovation lifecycle.
- Connect disjointed, localised innovation by facilitating peer support, learning and sharing
- Build evidence that proves the power of initiatives developed by forcibly displaced people, and use this to overcome barriers that prevent them from accessing resources.
What the Fund offers?
Selected organisations can expect the following support:
- Financial support to test and grow ideas: Organisations can apply for up to USD $50,000 in funding to test and implement their ideas.
- Programme and project management support: Grantees will receive assistance from UNHCR country teams to troubleshoot challenges and facilitate local connections. This will further enhance the successful implementation and sustainability of projects.
- Technical support, expertise and coaching: Specialist advice based on needs ranging from technology to legal support and Innovation.
- Peer-to-Peer support: Teams will be encouraged to meet, share experiences, learn from each other and explore partnerships.
- Other support based on each project need: this could include organisational support, help with project sustainability and scale, training on specific topics, business model advice and media and communications support.
- An emphasis on learning: The Fund will help grantees measure outcomes, assess the effect of their initiatives and gather information to support growth. Applicants will be encouraged to document, share and make use of relevant learning. Discussion and reflection with communities will enable to incorporate and respond to feedback.
- The Fund supports innovation by all organisations led by people who experience forced displacement, including refugees, asylum-seekers, the internally displaced, returnees and stateless people.
- Applicants will be asked to apply as a team, usually as part of an existing organisation.
- The Fund accepts applications from both registered or unregistered organisations.
- Additional attention will be given to ensuring that LGBTIQ+ persons, women-led, disability-led and other underrepresented organisations receive the necessary support and encouragement to apply to the Fund.
For more information, visit UNHCR.