Shaping the future: Our strategy for research and innovation in humanitarian response.

A global organisation that finds solutions to complex humanitarian problems through research and innovation..
Our purpose is clear: we work in partnership with a global community of humanitarian actors, researchers and innovators to improve the quality of humanitarian action and deliver better outcomes for people affected by crises.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...

The window for submitting expressions of interest is now open with a deadline of 14:00 BST (UTC+1) on Monday 5 June 2023.  For full information please see the Challenge Handbook, including Annex 1: Eligibility and Assessment Criteria and corresponding questions, and Annex 2: HIF Innovations 2012-2022.   

To apply for Adopting Innovations in High Severity Contexts, submit an Expression of Interest via our Common Grant Application platform

Already have an account with with Common Grant? Log in to start an application 

Don’t have an account? Sign up to open an account and start an application

We are looking for organisations with extensive reach in acute phases of emergencies, and in complex, conflict-affected and protracted settings, to pilot a previously HIF-funded innovation. The pilot should aim to test the impact of the innovation by using it effectively in one a very high severity crisis setting (as defined by ACAPS Inform Crisis Severity Scale – see list of countries below).  Applicants must have substantial ongoing sector-relevant operations in at least three very high severity settings (as listed below).    

Applicants will be able to adopt any of the innovations supported through one of the 200+ HIF grants disbursed since 2012. Applicants must not have already implemented the innovation or been a part of its development.   

This is also an opportunity for innovators of HIF-funded innovation which are ready to scale to approach potential adopters, highlighting this rare opportunity for funding that specifically targets adoption as a pathway to scale. Please note that the lead applicant must be the adopting organisation, not the innovator. 

Countries considered as very high severity settings: Afghanistan; Colombia; Central African Republic; Chad; Democratic Republic of Congo; Ethiopia; Haiti; Mali; Myanmar; Nigeria; Sudan; Somalia; South Sudan; Syria; Ukraine; Yemen.  UPDATE: following the update this month to ACAPS Inform list of very high severity countries, we are adding Colombia to the original 15 listed eligible high severity contexts.    

Potential applicants are advised to monitor this page for any updates and for FAQs and further information which will be posted below.  We will also be spotlighting a selection of HIF-funded innovations on this page ahead of the deadline for submissions of Expression of Interest.   

This call is an important complement to our portfolio of scale-focused challenges, which support innovators to overcome barriers to scale. Funding is available to adopt any previously funded HIF innovation in any humanitarian sector, focusing on their adoption in settings where humanitarian assistance is most difficult and most needed.

Get the full details in the challenge handbook

For further information about the challenge, evaluation criteria and application timelines, as well as a glossary of key terms, please read the challenge handbook

Download here

Frequently asked questions

How do I apply?

To apply for Adopting Innovations in High Severity Contexts, submit an Expression of Interest via our Common Grant Application platform

Already have an account with with Common Grant? Log in to start an application 

Don’t have an account? Sign up to open an account and start an application

Who do I contact for more information?

You can contact us at, please reference “High Severity Scale” in the subject line, repeated questions will be added to the FAQ.

Can I use this funding to adapt a HIF-funded innovation to a different purpose?

No. You should not apply for this funding proposing to adapt an innovation to a substantially different purpose.  For example, you should not try changing the target group of a product or process that has been developed for use with a specific target group.  That is not to say that the innovation must already have been used within the exact same context; for example, the country of application may be different, but in that case at Full Proposal stage, applicants will need to adequately address what challenges they foresee, including translation/contextualisation and how they would face such challenges (see Page 4 of Annex 1).

Can we apply as a consortium if a consortium member has developed the HIF-funded innovation?

We welcome applications that use various partnership models, and this could include consortia.

As per page 6 of the handbook: the lead applicant must be the adopting organisation, not the innovator; however, the innovating organisation may be included in the project as a partner, for example, providing technical guidance or support for contextualisation (but not using funding as a general resource for further work on their innovation).

Where a consortium is applying with one of its members as the Lead Organisation, it is important that the Lead Organisation (the one proposing to contract with Elrha) meets the eligibility criteria: for example, being a legally registered entity; having substantial sector-relevant programmes in at least three of the listed countries; proposing to adopt a hif-funded innovation (with a project page listed in Annex 2); not having developed the innovation or adopted it before.

If the Consortium itself, is the lead applicant, and a member of the consortium developed the innovation or is already routinely using it, then this would be ineligible under Criterion F, as the Hif-funded innovation would have been “developed by a part of the same organisation”.  You should consider applying with a different lead applicant that meets the criteria.

Is Colombia also eligible as a country with a very high severity context, following the recent update to the ACAPS Inform Index?

Yes, following the update to the Inform index, we have added Colombia as an eligible Very High Severity setting.  This change is reflected in the body text of this webpage and Colombia has been added to the list of countries in the Common Grants Application platform. (We will not be reissuing the Challenge Handbook or Annex 1).

Is there an accessible format version of the Challenge Handbook and Annex 1 available that can be read by screen-readers and translation software?

Yes. Word Document versions of the text of the Challenge Handbook and of Annex 1 can be found here:
Accessible format of Challenge Handbook Adopting innovations in high severity settings

Accessible format of Handbook Annex 1

What does it mean to have “been part of the development of an innovation”, and can we apply to adopt an innovation if we have previously partnered with the innovators to work on this innovation?

We include in the handbook the line (page 6) “Applicants must not have already implemented the innovation or been a part of its development.”  If the adopting organization (the Lead Applicant) has previously received HIF grant or sub-grant funding to work on this innovation then we would consider that they have been part of the development of the innovation. For example, if you were a HIF project lead and a host-organisation to the innovators we would consider that as being “part of the development of an innovation” even if you have not yet adopted the resulting innovation.

Spotlighted Innovations

Faircap drinking water filter

The Faircap is a small, portable, low cost and easy-to-use water filter that can be screwed on to standard plastic beverage bottles and containers.

Oxfam Handwashing Stand

The Oxfam Handwashing Stand is a self-contained kit for family and communal handwashing that enables first-phase emergency installation because it is easy to use, assemble, transport and maintain.

MediCapt Clinical Forensic GBV Documentation

MediCapt is a mobile application that guides clinicians through the effective and comprehensive documentation of sexual and gender-based violence, and securely stores and transmits evidence to the justice sector to increase access to justice for survivors.

Rapid Assessment Method for Older people (RAM-OP)

RAM-OP is a rapid assessment method for measuring the nutritional status and needs, and other related factors that affect older people in humanitarian situations. It includes a questionnaire, a sampling method, and software for data analysis. It allows humanitarian workers to gather evidence on the nutritional vulnerability of older people in emergencies and plan the response accordingly.

Gravit'eau handwashing station for water-scarce contexts

Gravit’eau is a water-recycling handwashing station that provides access to safe, clean handwashing in humanitarian contexts where water is scarce.

The "sense-making approach" for real-time GBV data collection

Susan Bartels, of Queen’s University,  has worked with humanitarian organisations in Lebanon and Latin America, using sense-making software for rapid, large scale information gathering on GBV among displaced populations.

Reemi self-disinfecting menstrual underwear

Self-disinfecting menstrual underwear, and laundry bags; understanding socio-cultural norms, health outcomes and the environmental impact related to MHM.

The underwear consists of multiple layers including a self-sterilising smart technology layer, multiple absorbent layers, and a leak-proof layer. This product is designed to be reusable, easily washable, and odour-neutralising.

The wash and dry bags ensure undergarments remain hygienic through avoiding contact with the latrine floor.

Tiger-worm toilets: worm-based toilets for refugee camps

The Tiger Worm Toilet is the nearest technology available to a ‘perpetual toilet’ — using worms to continuously treat human waste, transforming it into vermicompost with potential economic and environmental benefits.

WRC's Community Preparedness for SRH and Gender toolkit and curriculum 

These tools support communities to work together to identity their Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) needs and resources, and develop action plans to prepare for emergencies, protect vulnerable community members, and ensure that SRH services are included in crisis response. The Women’s Refugee Commission has developed community capacity and needs assessment tools and piloted the Community Preparedness for SRH and Gender curriculum in Nepal.

Self-Help+360 - scaling WHO's mental health module through humanitarian partnerships

Driven forwards by Healthright International, SH+360 is a consultancy model of tailored support delivered across the full project cycle to help leading humanitarian partners integrate SH+ into their programming across sectors. Self Help Plus (SH+) was developed by WHO to directly address limitations to scale of MHPSS interventions.

Subscribe to our newsletters....

Elrha © 2018 - 2024 Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110). KEEP IN TOUCH Want to stay up to date with our latest updates? Sign up to our newsletters
Elrha Please upgrade your browser

You are seeing this because you are using a browser that is not supported. The Elrha website is built using modern technology and standards. We recommend upgrading your browser with one of the following to properly view our website:

Windows Mac

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of browsers. We also do not intend to recommend a particular manufacturer's browser over another's; only to suggest upgrading to a browser version that is compliant with current standards to give you the best and most secure browsing experience.