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We are delighted to share the ten innovations shortlisted for Journey to Scale – an open funding call spanning all sectors of humanitarian action designed to accelerate potential solutions on their scaling journeys.

Scaling humanitarian innovation remains a critical challenge for the global humanitarian community. Too often promising innovations fail to gain traction and wider uptake. This means work and resources are wasted, and great ideas don’t reach their full potential. With growing humanitarian need and a resource-constrained sector, there is a need to generate greater impact from investments in innovation.

In direct response to this challenge, we launched the second round of Journey to Scale at the start of this year.

The ten innovation projects span multiple sectors, including our own innovation focus areas of WASH and GBV, but also including nutrition, mental health, early warning systems for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and conflict, programme monitoring, shelter, energy and the environment. Five of the teams have received previous funding from us, one of which was through our research programme, R2HC, and five are new to us.

We have been working intensively with the teams behind these 10 innovations since June, helping each to develop a scaling vision and comprehensive strategy for realising that vision. This was a more thorough process than anything we have done before, involving a series of workshops with the whole cohort as well as one-to-one support for each team. We provided £10,000 funding for each participating team in contribution to the time required to fully participate.

This approach was designed in response to one of the recognised barriers to scaling innovation in the humanitarian sector: innovation teams struggle to create the time and space to proactively develop a strategy for taking their innovation to scale, and often lack the skills and knowledge required to effectively manage this next stage of the innovation journey. The strategy development process provided space for the teams to work together on the long-term visioning, and training to help prepare teams for their transition to scale.

The ten teams will now submit applications for the next stage of Journey to Scale, which offers up to £580,000 in grant funding, alongside tailored, non-financial support over the next two years. The five strongest proposals will be selected but we hope the strategy support provided to the teams do not continue on with us, will prove valuable as they progress their innovations.

The final five innovations will be selected in mid-November, but for now we shine a spotlight on the ten shortlisted innovations:

Action Against Hunger UK

Empowering mothers and caregivers to detect and seek early treatment for acute malnutrition in children 6-59 months through Family MUAC

Family MUAC (mid-upper arm circumference) can revolutionise treatment of acute malnutrition by empowering accurate and earlier detection by caregivers, as well as facilitating informed health seeking behaviours, ultimately leading to fewer hospitalizations, lower cost of treatment, and increased coverage when achieved at scale.

Build Up Nepal Engineering

Scale up of innovative post-disaster micro-enterprise model and resilient brick technology that provides safe, affordable housing and long-term jobs for low-income families

Build up Nepal has developed a uniquely effective post disaster reconstruction model combining affordable, resilient brick-technology with long-term sustainable micro-construction enterprises. The project aims to build a robust evidence base, codifying the model and building pathways to scale.

Hala Systems

How Technology Driven Early Warning Can Save Lives and Reduce Trauma for Millions

Hala employs artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and remote sensing for early warning, war crime accountability, and violence monitoring in Syria and Yemen. The system is called Sentry and the team aim to scale up the impact of Sentry in additional conflict zones to save lives and reduce trauma.

Healthright International

SH+ 360: Scaling up an evidence-based mental health intervention through multi-sectoral humanitarian partnerships in Uganda

To meet the vast mental health needs of refugees, the team will work with leading humanitarian partners across various sectors in Uganda to integrate a scalable, evidence-based multi-media intervention (Self Help Plus, SH+) into their programming with tailored support across the full project cycle.

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM)

Adapting health services for displaced populations in post conflict settings: a journey to scale using rapid programme monitoring in refugee settlements across northern Uganda

LSTM’s Metrics for Action (M4Action) Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Toolkit provides simple, actionable, quality evidence for humanitarian settings. Working in seven northern Uganda districts with more than a million refugees and large health service delivery gaps, M4Action builds NGO and Ministry M&E capacity, through e-learning and mentoring, to understand service gaps and use data for programme improvement.

Pesitho Holding Aps and Mercy Corps

ECOCA electric solar cookstove, scale in Uganda

As a response to more than 2.6 billion people lacking access to clean cooking, PESITHO, has developed the ECOCA, an off-grid solar cookstove, that will allow families of 5-7 to cook 3 meals a day, even after sunset. In a partnership with Mercy Corps, this solution is ready for scale in Uganda.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)

MediCapt: Using Technology to Strengthen Capacity to Investigate and Prosecute Sexual Violence Crimes

MediCapt is PHR’s collaboratively-designed mobile application clinicians use to digitally document and securely store comprehensive forensic medical evidence of gender-based violence (GBV) while safeguarding patient privacy. After successful pilots in Kenya and the DRC, the app will be used to increase access to justice for survivors globally.


DMS Himalaya – for community based risk reduction and governance in remote rural geographies

DMS-Himalaya innovation, designed with HIF-support, blends Go-Risk -early warning tool; RnR-Comm -relief & response information tool; & community-led coordination pathways for remote areas. It would be scaled to cover 12 Himalayan districts, generate evidence across the geography & variants within.

Save the Children, Oxfam and Eclipse Experience

User-centred Emergency Sanitation Design

This project scales-up on a previous UCCE successful innovation that includes an interactive digital tool, used to collect feedback from children and caregivers on latrine designs, and a methodology to help in decision-making that is relevant to incorporate changes based on beneficiaries’ feedback.

Terre des Hommes (TdH) and Gravit’eau


TdH has co-invented a mobile handwashing station with automatic water recycling system to deal with water shortages, potentially saving thousands of lives if scaled. Gravit`eau safely reduces water use to 5 ml/handwash without chemicals or electricity, and only needs refilling every 2-4 weeks.

Related Resources

Report Innovation Management, Scale

Too Tough to Scale? Challenges to scaling innovation in the humanitarian sector

Video Capacity Development, Gender-based Violence, Information Management, Communication & Technology, Innovation Management, Scale

The full Journey to Scale story

Banner photo: The Field Ready team (one of our Journey to Scale 2016 grantees) in Nepal manufacturing important items in the field and training others to do the same.

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