Apply for UNHCR Refugee-led Innovation Fund

Deadline Date: May 31, 2024

Donor Name: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Grant Size: $10,000 to $100,000

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is currently accepting applications for Refugee-led Innovation Fund in all countries to provide holistic support to UNHCR colleagues and refugee-led organizations, ensuring innovators have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to bring lasting positive change to forcibly displaced and stateless communities around the world.

UNHCR’s Innovation Service is dedicated to creating an enabling environment for innovation to flourish at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. 

Organizations led by displaced and stateless people make remarkable contributions to their communities but face considerable challenges accessing direct and flexible funding. Too often, they are excluded from existing networks of entrepreneurs and innovators, resulting in poor access to knowledge, information, and resources that could help them amplify their impact. 


  • 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.

Funding Information

  • 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.
  • Duration
    • Selected organizations will have the opportunity to commence their projects as early as March 2025, for a support period of up to 18 months.

What the Fund offers?

  • Selected organizations can expect the following:
    • 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.
    • An emphasis on learning: Support will be provided to enable grantees to measure outcomes, assess their impact, and gather information to support growth. They will be encouraged to document, share, and make use of relevant learnings. Discussion and reflection with their communities will enable them to incorporate and respond to feedback.

Who can apply?

  • The Fund supports innovation by all organizations led by people with lived experience of forced displacement, including refugees, asylum-seekers, the internally displaced, returnees, and stateless people that are recognized within their communities due to their past significant contributions.
  • Applicants are asked to apply as a team, usually as part of an existing organization. 
  • The Fund accepts applications from both registered and unregistered organizations that are well known in their communities due to their past significant contributions and initiatives.
  • Additional attention will be given to ensuring organizations led by LGBTIQ+ persons, women, people with disabilities, Indigenous populations and other underrepresented groups receive support and encouragement to apply to the Fund.

For more information, visit UNHCR.

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