AU seeking five innovations that address human displacement, refugee issues

The African Union’s Humanitarian Affairs, Refugees and Displaced Persons Division of the Department of Political Affairs division 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 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 top five innovators will be invited to a three day-long Prototype Lab in Nairobi, Kenya in mid-November where they will receive professional coaching and mentorship and support to bring their idea to the next level. The event will close with a pitching sessions where the individual (or team) with the most convincing concept will receive 20,000 EUR (about US $22,000) to develop their idea into an innovative digital product, service or tool in an intensive accelerator phase.

The ideas submitted 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 and participation. The idea should also provide a solution for a pressing humanitarian problem related to forced displacement or man-made/natural disasters in Africa. Finally, the teams should be able to develop their idea into an implementable digital prototype between January 2020 to March 2020, and pilot it in small context with real users afterwards.

The accelerator phase of the project will take place in the winners’ country or region in 2020. The three-month long accelerator phase will include tailored coaching based on the teams’ 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.

Worth noting is that all the intellectual rights on the ideas will remain with the respective teams and neither the AU nor the GIZ will claim any rights on the ideas.

The background of the team can be non-profit or for-profit organisation, or just a group of friends and each team should already have (some) experience in developing digital solutions and must include at least one IT specialist (or developer) with the ability to develop the core product. Members of the team must be African nationals and residents.

More details about the entry requirements Humanitarian Innovation Challenge can be obtained online.


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