UNHCR Innovation Service Refugee-led Innovation Fund 2023 (up to $45,000)

Deadline: June 30, 2023


  • Only organizations led by people who have lived experience of forced displacement are eligible to apply. This includes refugees, asylum-seekers, the internally displaced, returnees, and stateless people. They accept applications from both registered and unregistered organisations.
  • Applicants are asked to apply as a team, usually as part of an existing organization.
  • As the Fund is trying to promote novel ideas proposed by refugee-led organisations to test innovative approaches, projects that have received support during past rounds of the Refugee-led Innovation Fund are not eligible to receive additional funding to continue the implementation of existing initiatives. However, grantee organizations proposing a new idea/project are welcome to apply.


Applications are open for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Innovation Service Refugee-led Innovation Fund 2023. The Refugee-led Innovation Fund champions the creativity of all displaced and stateless people. It aims to reshape their participation in the delivery of humanitarian work by ensuring they take centre stage in the decisions affecting their lives, leading the identification of needs and the design of innovative solutions.

The Fund provides holistic support – combining financial resources, mentoring, and other expertise – directly to refugee-led organizations, to enable them to design and deliver new interventions that have a lasting positive impact on their communities.


Selected organisations can expect the following support:

  • Financial support: Organizations can apply for up to $45,000 USD in funding to test and implement ideas with strong community approaches that generate value for community members, not specifically linked to any thematic area or technology.
  • Programme and project management support: Grantees will receive assistance from UNHCR and experts to help build their capacity to design and implement programmes effectively.
  • Technical support, expertise, and coaching: Needs-based specialist advice will be offered, on topics ranging from technology to legal support and innovation methodologies.
  • Peer-to-peer networking: Supported organizations will be encouraged to engage with each other, share experiences, learn from each other, and explore partnerships.
  • Other support based on project needs: This could include organizational support, help with project sustainability and scale, training on specific topics, business model advice, and media and communications support.


Applications go through a two-stage selection process. 

  • In the first stage, organizations are invited to submit a brief expression of interest by 30 June 2023 at 23:59 CET. This expression of interest will provide a short overview of the identified challenge and proposed solution. The Innovation Service will review these applications and identify a shortlist of applications. 
  • In the second stage, shortlisted organizations will have a further three weeks to submit a full application. They will receive support from the Innovation Service and UNHCR country offices to develop and submit these detailed applications.


For more information, visit UNHCR.

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