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Despite growing emphasis in the humanitarian sector on the importance of improving the collection, sharing and use of data on disability and older age, there is still a lack of high-quality and action-oriented data about people’s experiences and barriers faced in humanitarian settings (Robinson et al., 2020).

This innovation challenge is looking for innovative data collection approaches that will generate action-oriented recommendations on how to make humanitarian programmes more inclusive of older people and people with disabilities.

The Problem

In humanitarian settings, data is often collected without a clear purpose and is not used to inform and improve humanitarian programming. While tools like the Washington Group questions are increasingly being used to collect data on individual functional ability, there is limited evidence of disaggregated data being collected on a large scale or being used to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities and older people. 

Commonly used qualitative data collection methods can pose barriers to exclusion, and are rarely co-designed with representative organisations, such as older people’s associations (OPAs) and organisations of persons with disabilities (OPDs).

Data collection is additionally challenging due to key features of humanitarian settings, such as insecurity and populations that include vulnerable individuals. Despite agreed principles and standards, approaches to data responsibility are often inconsistent in humanitarian settings.

This innovation challenge is designed to respond to these multi-layered and interlinked problems, and we hope that the innovation projects we support will make measurable progress towards addressing them.  

The Challenge

We are looking to support innovative data collection approaches that will generate action-oriented recommendations on how to make humanitarian action more inclusive of older people and people with disabilities.

The expected outputs for supported projects include:  

  • Action-oriented recommendations for how to make the chosen humanitarian programme(s) more inclusive based on the data collected. 
  • A step-by-step guide on the data collection approach used, including any knowledge and tools that could be shared with the wider humanitarian community. 

Projects must be delivered through meaningful collaboration between one or more representative organisations (OPDs and OPAs) and humanitarian actors. OPAs and OPDs are expected to play an integral role in all of the project stages, including planning and budgeting, design and implementation, as well as in writing the proposal. 

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 (accessible PDF).

Read the challenge handbook

Frequently asked questions

How do I apply?

To apply for the challenge, fill out the Expression of Interest (EoI) via our Common Grant Application platform.

Already have an account? Login to start an application. 

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

If you require any challenge materials in an alternative format please contact us at 

Who is eligible to apply for the data-driven inclusion challenge?

If your answer to any of the below is ‘No’ you are not eligible to apply for this challenge.  

  • Is the lead organisation a legally-registered entity? 
  • Is your indicative project budget within the range of 125,000 and 175,000 GBP?
  • Will you complete your project within 18 months (ie, starting from April 2023, and completing before November 2024)? 
  • Will you be implementing your approach in an eligible humanitarian setting (see ‘Humanitarian setting’ in the handbook Glossary)?  
  • Do your project lead and partners, between them, meet all of the following requirements:  
    • At least one OPA or OPD; 
    • At least one organisation with operational humanitarian experience; and 
    • At least one organisation that is headquartered and led in the country of the chosen humanitarian setting(s)? 
  • Is your data collection approach innovative (as opposed to standard programming), ie, is it an invention (new) or adaptation of an existing approach from elsewhere? 
  • Is your data collection approach inclusive, ie, it adheres to the foundational principles of inclusion and focuses on increasing inclusion in humanitarian action for both older people and people with disabilities? 
  • Will you use the data you collect to generate action-oriented recommendations to increase inclusion in one or more existing humanitarian programmes or activities in your chosen setting? 
  • Have you outlined how you will develop and share a step-by-step guide on the approach and lessons learned with the wider humanitarian community?  
  • Have you considered how you will mitigate any ethical implications of your proposed approach (including gaining formal ethical approval if required) and ensure that data is handled responsibly? 
  • Will your project be possible to implement safely and ethically during the COVID-19 pandemic?

For further details on the eligibility criteria, read the Challenge Handbook.

What do you mean by ‘innovative data collection approach’?

By ‘innovative data collection approach’, we mean an approach that: 

  • Draws on existing design methods and good practice for data collection. You may be familiar with existing approaches for designing inclusive and data-driven solutions, such as ‘design thinking’, ‘community-centred design’, ‘user-centred design’ and ‘human-centred design’. In all these approaches, the objective is to ensure that a process, service or solution works well according to how people can, want or need to use it, instead of designing a product or service that requires people to adapt or change in some way or else be excluded. We and other organisations have previously shared guidance on the use of these methods in humanitarian settings and recommend exploring these resources to develop your innovative approach (Pivotal, 2017; The ODI, 2018; ALNAP, 2019; GSMA, 2020). Additionally, data should be collected, managed and stored responsibly and in accordance with relevant data regulations and guidance.  
  • Uses data to generate action-oriented recommendations on how to increase inclusion in a specific humanitarian programme, and not as an end in itself. To do this in an efficient and ethical way, you will need to define your data needs before implementing your approach.  

Find out more about the types of projects we are looking to fund in the Challenge Handbook.

What counts as a ‘humanitarian setting’?

Humanitarian settings can include: 

  • Conflict-affected locations (eg, Yemen, Central African Republic, Mali); 
  • Natural hazard-driven disasters; 
  • Complex emergencies (eg, eastern DRC, northeast Nigeria); 
  • Refugee or internally displaced person (IDP) camps/settlements including in protracted crises; 
  • Refugees and IDPs in urban settings.

We exclude: 

  • Countries that are not included in the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list of official development assistance (ODA) (eg, Greece, including refugee camps). 
  • General populations in low- or middle-income countries (LMICs), including those that have been affected by COVID-19, unless also qualifying as a humanitarian crisis setting as above. 
  • Other vulnerable population groups, such as migrants, slum dwellers, or rural communities that are not otherwise affected by a humanitarian crisis. 
Is COVID-19 response considered a humanitarian setting?

We recognise that in existing humanitarian settings there may now be new or amended humanitarian programming to prevent and respond to COVID-19. Projects implemented as part of COVID-19 response activities in an existing humanitarian setting will be eligible. Implementation as part of COVID-19 response activities outside of an existing humanitarian setting (ie, in the general population of a country) is not eligible. 

How much funding is available for the challenge and what can it cover?

We envisage funding a selection of projects with budgets up to 175,000 GBP. Please note that budgets above 175,000 GBP are ineligible. Innovations with shorter project timelines and budgets below this threshold are welcomed and encouraged.

Each project is expected to last up to 18 months. Projects should plan to start in April 2023 and all project-related activities must complete before November 2024. Please see the ‘Challenge timeline’ section of the handbook for further details.

The total duration of projects should cover all your project activities (see ‘Expected activities’ section in handbook) and include sharing lessons learned with other innovators selected for this challenge and with the broader humanitarian sector. We are unable to offer any project extensions, so applicants should be responsible in their planning and leave space for flexibility.  

For further details on what costs are eligible for this grant, see the ‘Funding and timelines’ section in the Challenge Handbook.

What is the rate that overheads can be included at?

Overheads may include up to 10% of the direct costs listed in the budget. They should not exceed this amount, nor be calculated as a percentage of both the direct and indirect costs combined. For more information, please see the Eligible Costs Guidance document on our Resource Library page. 

What are the timelines?

The Data-driven inclusion challenge launches on 3 August 2022 

The deadline for Expressions of Interest (EoIs) is 14 September 2022 at 12:59 BST (check what this is in your timezone). Apply via the Common Grants Application platform. 

For further details on the application process and timelines, read the Challenge Handbook.

What are the assessment criteria for the challenge?

For details on who is eligible to apply and assessment criteria for proposals, see ‘Criteria for successful projects’ and ‘Eligibility checklist’ sections in the challenge handbook 

What should my memorandum of understanding (MoU) or equivalent look like?

Many organisations have templates for MoUs or other partnership agreements. We have no preference for format but provide a possible template in the handbook. We are looking to see a clear agreement that is tailored to this project, demonstrated commitment to the project, and clearly outlines roles and responsibilities between the different organisations in the partnership. We would expect this agreement to be dated and include organisational logos and signature(s) from relevant senior managers. 

I’d like to submit proposals to more than one challenge, is that accepted?

Applicants are welcome to submit proposals to any of the open innovation challenges.

One organisation can apply for more than one challenge. One organisation may also submit multiple applications to the same challenge. 

However, please note that you may only have one application in progress in the Common Grant Application system at a time. You can either:

  • Prepare your applications offline using the ‘Key offline questions’ word document. Then for each application you can paste your answers into CGA and submit one application at a time. 
  • Create a new log in for each application. 

For help using CGA please watch this video. 

Are you able to facilitate collaborations?

Sometimes we have suggestions for partners but we are not able to commit to securing partners for applicants. If you have a particular type of partner in mind, get in touch with us at and we will see if we can help. 

Still have questions?

We’re here to help. For any questions that are not covered by the challenge handbook or FAQs section, please email us at, referencing ‘Data-driven inclusion challenge’ in the subject line. We will publish any frequently asked questions on the challenge webpage on an ongoing basis.

If you find any accessibility-related barriers to submitting an application through the Common Grant Application, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss options for reasonable accommodation.

Video: everything you need to know

Want to know more? In this short explainer video we’ll share:

  • An overview of the Challenge
  • What we’re looking for
  • Key criteria and how to apply
Play video

Banner photo: Daw in Myanmar has visual and hearing impairments. Photo Credit: U Myo Thame/ HelpAge International

This Innovation Challenge is supported by

UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)

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