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  • Tebogo Gantsa

The Humanitarian Innovation Challenge: €20 000 reasons to join


The Humanitarian Innovation Challenge is an African Union (AU) initiative that challenges Africa’s digital innovators to come up with solutions that solve challenges with forced displacement. The innovations can focus on other humanitarian crises in the region. The deadline for applications is October 18, 2019.

The challenge is organised by the AU’s Department of Political Affairs, under the Humanitarian Affairs, Refugees and Displaced Persons Division.

It's part of the continental body’s theme for 2019, "The Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa."

They are looking for digital technology driven ideas that can be linked to innovative use of Big Data and citizen engagement. These should also be feasible to develop into a prototype to be implemented during the Accelerator Programme. The accelerator phase will run from January to March 2020 in the winning team’s country of origin.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR, UN’s Refugee Agency, says Africa hosts about 26% of the world’s refugee population. Forced displacements have been made worse by recent conflicts like the strife in Central Africa Republic (CAR), which has forced about 700 000 to flee.

Who can apply?

Here is what makes you eligible to join.

Win it for your country

The top five innovators will head off to a three day Prototype Lab to be held from 20 – 22 November in Nairobi, Kenya. There’s also no need to worry about paying for flights, accommodation, visas, insurance or participation in the Prototype Lab for up to three persons per team. All these will be covered.

At the Prototype Lab, the five innovators will receive professional coaching or mentorship and support that will help them take their innovative solution to the next level. They will also get inputs from experienced coaches and experts on Design Thinking, which will help prepare their final pitches.

There'll also be a networking opportunity with AU representatives, experts from the Humanitarian sector and with other participants.Teams that had the most convincing pitch will get €20 000 to implement their prototype during the Accelerator Programme, which will take place in the winning team’s country of origin.


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