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African Union Humanitarian Innovation Challenge 2020

African Union Humanitarian Innovation Challenge 2020

Country: Kenya
City: Nairobi
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The African Union, Humanitarian Affairs, Refugees and Displaced Persons Division of the Department of Political Affairs, is organizing a Humanitarian Innovation Challenge to identify five promising digital technology-based ideas which tackle forced displacement or other humanitarian challenges in Africa.

The challenge is part of the activities of AU’s theme of the Year 2019:

“The Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.”

The innovations also must tackle other aspects of humanitarian challenges. This includes man-made/natural disasters in Africa e.g. conflicts, famine, droughts, floods, epidemics, etc.

The top five (5) innovators will be invited to a three-day-long Prototype Lab in Nairobi (Kenya) in mid-November where they will receive professional coaching/mentorship as well as support to bring their idea to the next level.

Benefits of the African Union Humanitarian Innovation Challenge

The event will close with a pitching session where the individual /team with the most convincing concept will receive 20.000 EUR. Moreover, the recipient will use this fund to develop their idea into an innovative digital product, service or tool in an intensive accelerator phase. The accelerator phase of the project will take place in the winners’ country or region in 2020.

The five selected teams will receive the following support:

  • Invitation to a three-day Prototype Lab in Nairobi, Kenya (including flights, accommodation, visa, insurance, participation in the Prototype Lab for up to three persons per team).
  • During the Prototype Lab, the teams will get support in further developing their ideas/solutions regarding business model refinement, visual prototyping, User-Centered Design, pitching, and other areas. Besides, experienced coaches and experts will provide inspiring inputs and facilitate the workshop through Design Thinking methods and will help prepare the teams pitches.
  • Networking with AU representatives, experts from the Humanitarian sector and with the other participating teams

Eligibility for the African Union Humanitarian Innovation Challenge

Candidates are eligible for the African Union Humanitarian Innovation Competition if their ideas are

  • digital technology-driven (and based on the Principles of Digital Development and linked to the innovative use of (Big) Data and/or citizens engagement/participation
  • Likewise, the idea should provide a solution for a pressing humanitarian problem related to forced displacement or man-made/natural disasters in Africa
  • It should be feasible to develop this idea into an implementable digital prototype in the timeframe between January 2020 to March 2020 – and to pilot it in a small context with real users afterward

Selection Criteria

The Prototype Lab will select five teams on the basis of their submission for the African Union Humanitarian Innovation Challenge using the following selection criteria:

  • The relevance of the problem that the idea/solution is tackling
  • The long-term potential of the idea in terms of positive impact for its beneficiaries
  • Innovativeness of idea to solve the problem
  • Suitability of the Proposed key partners
  • Plan for long-term sustainability
  • Skill as well as the experience of the team
  • How well does the team/idea fit into the support the Humanitarian Innovation Challenge can offer?

How to apply for the African Union Humanitarian Innovation Challenge

The applicants must download the application for the African Union Humanitarian Innovation Competition and send it via email. The application must arrive before the deadline.


Application for the African Union Humanitarian Innovation Challenge is open until 18 October 2019. Applications arriving after the deadline are not eligible to compete in the Innovation Challenge.


Type of Opportunity Entrepreneurship Events
Deadline18 October,2019
Open toAll Nationalities
OrganizerAfrican Union
Contact the organizer[email protected]



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