Digital Innovation

Our vision

The UNHCR Innovation Service’s Digital Innovation Programme serves as the primary innovation vehicle underpinning the implementation of UNHCR’s new Digital Transformation Strategy 2022–2026. Evolving from the Service’s Digital Inclusion Programme, the Digital Innovation Programme focuses on the most forward-thinking and innovative approaches to digital inclusion, digital protection, and digital services, providing resources and space for field level experimentation.

By innovating with and for forcibly displaced and stateless people, the Digital Innovation Programme aims to bridge the digital divide and improve the way UNHCR works. We’re empowering communities – including those who have experienced intersectional marginalization – to safely leverage digital technologies in a way that enhances their well-being and self-reliance.

Our approach

The Digital Innovation Programme’s goal is to ensure that forcibly displaced and stateless people – no matter their age, gender, or other identity markers – can safely benefit from digital technology and access digital humanitarian services in ways that work for them. To do this, we’re empowering communities and creating an enabling environment for digital innovation through a three pillar approach:


Enhance our understanding through horizon-scanning, evidence generation, and primary research on nascent digital themes.


Explore field level innovative solutions, working closely with communities to pilot new ideas, developing real-world insights into what works or doesn’t, and testing new operating models.


Instigate wider-scale change in the way UNHCR and humanitarian actors work, through building capacity and adapting programming, but also influencing public and private sector environments through advocacy and policy change.

What we mean by digital innovation

For us, ‘digital innovation’ means leveraging digital technologies and resources in creative, previously unexplored ways to enhance the lives of forcibly displaced and stateless people and their host community populations, and improve the way UNHCR works.

Building on the UNHCR Innovation Service’s recent work to further understand and break down barriers preventing the digital inclusion of forcibly displaced and stateless people, the Digital Innovation Programme focuses on fostering  forward-looking projects and responding to emerging issues. We strive to champion initiatives related, but not limited, to the following areas:

    Digital Innovation Fund

    The Digital Innovation Fund provides UNHCR operations with targeted financial support and technical guidance to deliver meaningful and innovative initiatives to ensure forcibly displaced, stateless and host communities are able to benefit from our increasingly connected world. 



    Supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its PROSPECTS Opportunity Fund, UNHCR and ILO are working together to support forcibly displaced and host communities to safely navigate the complexities of the digital economy and advance their self-reliance.

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    Connectivity for

    UNHCR’s Connectivity for Refugees initiative focuses on ensuring no one is left behind in accessing connectivity.

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    Communicating with Communities

    Through improved digital inclusion there is greater potential for UNHCR to engage with refugees.

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    Research and publications

    Research, insights, and publications developed by the Innovation Service, academic partners, implementing partners, and project teams, offering a deep dive into issues at the intersection of digital innovation and humanitarian work.

    Generously supported by The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg


    Are you working on digital innovation in contexts of forced displacement and would like to collaborate? Do you have questions or have perspectives to share with us? Get in touch.