UNHCR& Education Cannot Wait Launch Second Phase of the Humanitarian Education Accelerator (HEA) – Seeking Promising Education Innovations That Are Ready to Scale

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Turning the commitments made on refugee education at the first Global Refugee Forum into concrete action requires innovative solutions, identifying what works and successfully scaling to meet the education needs of the millions of children who are living in emergency or crisis settings.

Following the success of the first iteration of the HEA, the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) Acceleration Facility is funding UNHCR $2.2 million to identify and support a further cohort of education innovations, in 5 countries: ChadEthiopiaJordanLebanon and Uganda.


This second phase of the HEA will continue to address gaps in evidence and scaling capacity in humanitarian education, taking common elements from an accelerator – such as mentorship, internal capacity building and establishing a cohort that works together – and merging these with an evaluation-based programme. Through this unique approach, the HEA seeks to:

1- Build the evidence base on how to effectively scale education innovations in humanitarian settings, through investing in rigorous research;

2- Strengthen internal monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) processes and provide targeted support for selected organisations to navigate scale;

3-Assist organisations to build strong, supportive partnerships with governments, humanitarian and development actors, donors and other practitioners for sustainable scale;

4- Develop a community of practice, capturing knowledge and sharing lessons learned on scaling humanitarian education innovations, including the development of global public goods for the wider education sector. 

A call for applications for this new phase of the HEA will be released here on 17 December 2020, with a deadline for applications of 15 January 2021, using a stage-gated application process

  • Stage 1 (first week March): Capacity building by experts in scaling innovations, M&E and partnerships for up to ten innovations through a week-long Scaling Bootcamp;
  • Stage 2 (April – July 2021): Tailored mentorship and further capacity building support  on research, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and scaling for five innovations over 3 months;
  • Stage 3 (August 2021-December 2022): Funding of up to USD 200,000 for the final 3 selected innovations – to be used towards internal capacity building in M&E and investments in research, project implementation and scaling.

More detailed information on eligibility criteria and the HEA selection process is available through our Applicants’ Guide and FAQs on https://www.unhcr.org/hea.

About the Humanitarian Education Accelerator (HEA): 
The HEA has been working since 2016, through an initial partnership with UNICEF and the UK Department for International Development, to support promising humanitarian education innovations on their journey from successful pilots to projects that can operate at scale – in order to reach more children and youth with quality education. 

Through capacity building in M&E and scaling, tailored mentorship and rigorous research on what does (and does not) work in humanitarian education, the HEA has built valuable evidence on the scaling process for education in crisis settings.

The HEA is managed by the UNHCR Global Education Section, which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Additional information about the lessons coming out of the HEA so far can be found here: HEA Learning Series

For press inquiries or additional information on HEA: Charlotte Jenner, HEA Communications & Reporting Officer: jenner@unhcr.org  

For Press Inquiries:

Anouk Desgroseilliers:

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