Grant Value

Up to: £20,000

Recent Projects

To apply, please download the Small Grants Application Pack and return the template to our funding team, following the instructions outlined.

Please read all the included documentation before you apply.

The recognition and invention grants are open all year round and the HIF accepts applications at any time.


Call currently closed

A grant up to £20,000 is available for the Invention phase of the process. This means the invention of a creative solution or novel idea, which helps address a problem or seize an opportunity. Combining analysis, discussion and, most importantly, creativity to generate ideas or harness new technologies. To view projects we have funded in this phase click here.

(1) Humanitarian
The aim of your project must be to improve humanitarian practice. Guided by the Global Humanitarian Assistance’s definition we see “Humanitarian aid” as aid and action designed to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain and protect human dignity during and in the aftermath of emergencies. We do not accept applications for projects that are to be applied in wider development contexts.

(2) Innovation
The aim of your project must be an innovation: creating and implementing a new or improved technology, product or process. The innovation must contribute to improving the relevance, appropriateness, coverage, efficiency or effectiveness of humanitarian aid relative to existing practices.

(3) Field Experience
We welcome applications from all sectors. However, at least one of the partner organisations must be able to demonstrate experience working in humanitarian response. This is to ensure that the innovation is embedded in the humanitarian context and to improve the chances of systemic impact.

All proposals will be assessed against the following selection criteria with equal weighting:

  • Impact
  • Approach
  • Feasibility
  • Team

1. Impact
The HIF funds innovation that responds to significant challenges within the humanitarian field. We want to understand the potential impact of your project.
Please explain the importance of the specific issues you plan to address, where possible supporting this with evidence. We are keen to see references to literature reviews, case studies, specific demands by practitioners and beneficiaries, or other forms of evidence that highlight the opportunity you see.

Our priority is to support innovations that demonstrate the potential for scale up, replication or transferability elsewhere within the humanitarian sector. Therefore please indicate how widespread the effect of your project could be, and the ideas you have for achieving this.

2. Approach
Innovation is a creative process, and it also requires a rigorous approach to designing, testing, learning, and building evidence for what works and what doesn’t work. We refer to this as your methodology.

In particular for the Invention stage please explain how you will generate ideas or harness new technology that is more effective than existing practice.

It is important that you are able to make evidentially robust statements about the performance of the innovation. Your proposal must explain what performance criteria and indicators you will be using for the innovation. These criteria are what will enable you to judge whether your innovation has been successful or not, and to compare the performance of your innovation with existing practice.

Working effectively with your partners is critical to the success of your innovation. Therefore please include in your proposal how you intend to collaborate.

If the innovation doesn’t progress as you had planned, we are interested to know your organisation’s exit strategy (i.e. how will you incorporate changes in your progress to affect longer terms plan )and also how you intend to capture and share the lessons learnt for the maximum benefit of the humanitarian community.

3. Feasibility
We expect to see a convincing implementation plan outlining how project activities will be effectively delivered on time and to budget.

We need a clear timeline of all the activities planned, and an understanding of how each activity supports the project’s objectives. Given the need to be flexible in these kinds of processes, please also explain what the key decision points are in your timeline for making substantial changes to the project plan.

Special attention will be given to how the proposal represents value for money.

We believe that taking risks is an inherent part of the innovation process. We will be looking for your application to highlight what risks your project entails and what the mitigation strategies are for each. We are happy to take risks with our funding, however this must be the right kinds of risk, and not put affected populations in harm’s way, or lead to the misuse of funds.

It is important to be collecting information to monitor and report on the project deliverables throughout. At any time you should be able to answer questions about the progression of the project on an output level.

4. Team
The project team should be clearly capable of carrying out the work described and have a relevant track record which supports the project proposal.

In particular applicants should be able to demonstrate an understanding of how to bring new practices into operational contexts.

Please provide summary CVs (using our template provided) of key members of team as attachments to the application as well as any other documentation detailing operational/research experience.

The final evaluation and selection of all proposals is made by the HIF Grants Panel, comprising independent voluntary experts with expertise in various humanitarian programming sectors, as well as knowledge of innovation processes more generally.

Recognition project proposals are reviewed by the HIF team on an ongoing basis.

Proposals will not be considered for full evaluation if:

  • The application is incomplete
  • The application exceeds 5 pages (excluding attachments)
  • The proposal exceeds the maximum duration/value allowed
  • The applicant, project, or costs are not eligible

An evaluation of the quality of proposals, including the budget and the capacity of the applicant, will then be carried out in accordance with our selection criteria. The projects will be screened and referred to selected members of the Grants Panel for final approval.

A final decision will be made no later than one month after official receipt of the application.

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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