African Union Humanitarian Innovation Challenge 2019 (Win up to 20,000 EUR)

African Union Humanitarian Innovation Challenge 2019 (Win up to 20,000 EUR)

Deadline: October 18, 2019

Applications are invited for the African Union Humanitarian Innovation Challenge 2019. The African Union, Humanitarian Affairs, Refugees and Displaced Persons Division of the Department of Political Affairs, is organizing an “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 are also expected to tackle other aspects of humanitarian challenges including man-made/natural disasters in Africa e.g. conflicts, famine, droughts, floods, epidemics, etc.


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

The team with the most convincing idea/solution (based on the final pitch to a jury at the end of the Prototype Lab) then will receive additional support through:

  • An Accelerator Programme for the development of the idea/solution into a functioning digital implementable prototype. During the (up to) three months long accelerator phase, the winning team will win support worth 20,000 EUR. This will include tailored coaching based on their specific needs from experienced coaches and consultants (e.g. IT development, data science/security, web design, business development, marketing, legal, etc.). The Accelerator Programme will take place in the geographical region of the winning team, as close as possible to where the team is based.
  • Recognition Award by the AU
  • Presentation of the idea/solution at a High-Level AU Events in 2019 and 2020


  • The background of the team can be non-profit or for-profit organisation, or just a group of friends
  • Each team should already have some experience in developing digital solutions and must include at least one IT specialist/developer potentially able to develop the core product
  • The members of the team must be African nationals and residents
  • The team should be available to come to Nairobi/Kenya on November 20-22, 2019 and to develop their idea into a product, service or tool during the Accelerator Programme in the timeframe between January 2020 to March 2020

What ideas are they looking for?

  • The idea should be digital technology driven (and based on the Principles of Digital Development and be linked to the innovative use of (Big) Data and/or citizens engagement/participation
  • 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 afterwards

Selection Criteria

The five teams admitted to the Protoype Lab will be selected on the basis of their submission from an open call using the following selection criteria:

  • How relevant is the problem that the idea/solution is tackling?
  • What is the long-term potential of the idea in terms of positive impact for its beneficiaries (e.g. refugees, returnees and IDPs or others)?
  • How innovative is the idea to solve the problem?
  • How convincing are the proposed key partners?
  • How convincing is the plan for long-term sustainability?
  • How skilled and experienced is the team?
  • How well does the team/idea fit into the support the Humanitarian Innovation Challenge can offer?


Please send your filled-out application form to this email address: [email protected] with the Subject as follows: HIC Application – Submission

Note: If you already built a first prototype of your idea, you should provide a link to that in the application form. But: the idea shouldn’t have been launched to a broader public yet (> ~100 people/users).

For more information, visit African Union.