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The UNHCR NGO Innovation Award (“the Award”) celebrates efforts and achievements of NGOs who developed innovative approaches for protection and delivery of services to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR.

The Award 2020

This year, we will dedicate the award to Refugee-led Organizations (RLOs). The Award 2020 looks for novel and creative solutions RLOs have developed in response to COVID-19 at the global, regional, national and local levels.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a global health emergency, it has also negatively impacted protection and well-being of persons of concern around the world causing, for instance, loss of access to asylum, freedom of movement, and livelihoods; increased food insecurity; and risk of sexual and gender-based violence. Refugees and other forcibly displaced populations are among some of the most vulnerable people impacted by the pandemic. Fortunately, in the response, creativity and innovation also have flourished. RLOs, working with persons of concern and host communities, have come up with many innovative practices, for instance, reshaping existing livelihood projects to manufacturing protective equipment, hosting radio slot talks to distribute correct information amongst refugees, producing plant-based soaps for distribution and utilizing medical/psychosocial consultations via accessible messaging tools.

UNHCR, via this Award, wishes to identify and recognize the creativity and innovative approaches adopted by the RLOs in addressing multiple challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of the award is to provide public recognition to those efforts resulting in better protection and delivery of service to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR; and amplify the acts of solidarity and innovation in this age of disruption.

Eligibility criteria for nomination

  1. Legally registered non-profit RLO with a bank account
  2. Working with refugees, IDPs, the stateless and host communities in forcibly displaced context
  3. Demonstrated innovative approaches that address challenges in the COVID-19 response in a creative and novel manner, reflecting the value of diversity and inclusion
RLOs are defined as those that are either entirely founded and led by refugees or have refugees in positions of decision making and are active in providing protection and assistance to refugees.

Award selection criteria

  1. Understanding of the problem/issue at hand
  2. Novelty of solution (solution is new to the context, or new to the world – product, service, process or outcome)
  3. Inclusion (who has been involved)
  4. Impact and/or initial findings/results

Winners will receive

A prize of USD 15,000 for each winner. One representative of each winning RLO will be invited to attend at a virtual/in-person award ceremony held in parallel to UNHCR’s 70th anniversary celebration in December 2020.


25 September 2020 – Closing of online nomination

November 2020 – Announcement of winners

December 2020 – Award ceremony

For more information please open this link

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