About the Program

The Humanitarian Education Accelerator aims to improve education in crises in two ways:

  1. Help existing education in emergencies projects improve how they measure, evaluate, and scale their impact.
  2. Enlist expertise from external evaluators to build a robust evidence base on which approaches are most effective in this area, and which factors enable effective scale.

The program builds from UNICEF and UNHCR’s earlier collaboration with DFID’s Amplify program, which sought to nurture and test innovative ideas in the earliest stages of development.

Meet our Steering Committee


Identifying Cohort of Innovation Teams

  • Call for application + evaluate applicants + three grantees selected in 2016 + two grantees in 2017
  • Administered by UNHCR + UNICEF
The Humanitarian Education Accelerator will identify promising innovations for scaling up to other contexts or a broader group of affected populations. A critical element will be the identification of innovations that have demonstrated a strong proof of concept in one location, and have entered into scaling these pilots within a national, regional or global context. Current funding enables the enrolment of two cohorts; the first intake in 2016, and a second in 2017. The program will run for 24 months in total, and will commence with an initiation boot camp which will pull together representatives from all selected teams.
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Cohort Development and Training

  • Three annual camps + continuous mentorship for evaluation and scaling
  • Coordinated by UNHCR; facilitated by UNICEF + UNHCR

An important feature of the Humanitarian Education Accelerator includes the development of a cohort of innovators who will be partners in collaborative evaluation. Selected teams will meet annually for camps that will provide an opportunity to ensure the standardization of internal evaluation methods and will provide training on developmental evaluation approaches.

Mentorship will also be provided throughout the year to support evidence gathering with a focus on the process of scaling programs. The evidence gathered from the internal evaluation will identify good practices that foster successful program growth, of both their interventions and others.

Mentors will also be used to help selected teams validate and refine their site-specific program theories to scale for national, regional or global context. A key learning from innovation in education is that innovators vary in their capacity to take models to market and to scale. Beyond pedagogy, there are risks associated with adoption and traction and the economic sustainability of interventions. Our approach to mentorship will help build capacity of selected teams to effectively monitor and evaluate their interventions so as to produce robust evidence, but also skills to effectively pitch ideas to a range of potential funders and how to facilitate change in complex settings.

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Process Evaluation Funds


The Humanitarian Education Accelerator acknowledges the value of investing in both independent evaluations, while also enhancing evaluative capacity within selected teams. This approach is informed from the Developmental Evaluation method; which recognizes that social innovation and complex environments demand an evaluative approach which is embedded and can monitor the ‘patterns which emerge from rapid, real time interactions that generate learning, evaluation and development’.

By adopting an embedded evaluation approach, selected teams will benefit from training and mentorship, which will enhance their ability to rapidly assess, respond and document the scaling of their programs in a complex environment. Building this capacity is also vital to enable long-term sustainability of the emergency education and innovation, ensuring that credible evidence is continually gathered across the field.

Innovation teams will be eligible to apply for financial grants of up to £300,000 to strengthen their internal evaluation capacity; ensuring teams can comply with the evaluation frameworks introduced during the inception bootcamp. The focus is be to build internal capacity of organizations to embed evidence gathering as a central aspect of all programs and document emergent learnings from the process of scaling.

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Impact Evaluation

An external evaluation firm will assist in evaluating the impact of each selected program utilizing the process evaluation results, field missions, and will conduct impact assessments. The findings from these evaluations will contribute to a meta-evaluation that will identify enabling and blocking factors that resonate across the cohort programs, and can constitute a framework for scaling future innovation. Mid-term and final results discussed during camps will be disseminated via public events, web platforms and publications.
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