Humanitarian Education Accelerator

Identifying and scaling effective education innovations could rapidly increase both access to, and the quality of, education in humanitarian crisis settings. However, in protracted crisis settings many children and youth are not accessing high-quality education.

For more detailed information on research design, findings, and recommendations, read the full meta-evaluation report.

Recognizing the insufficient evidence available to scale education innovations in humanitarian settings, the Department for International Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees established the Humanitarian Education Accelerator (HEA), with the aim of understanding how to create the conditions necessary to scale existing pilot programs. In order to begin building the evidence base, the HEA engaged AIR to produce a meta-evaluation to synthesize the findings of mixed methods process evaluations of all five of the innovation teams, as well as impact evaluations of three innovation teams’ work.

The HEA had two major components:


  • Conducting rigorous process and/or impact evaluations of selected education innovations’ effectiveness and potential to scale;
  • Collating findings from HEA research and existing evidence that examines and summarizes barriers to and facilitators of education innovations’ journey to scale; and
  • Identifying impacts on learning, other education, and psychosocial outcomes.

Support and Mentorship

  • Leveraging a mentorship model that pairs subject matter experts with implementers to mentor, guide, and support them through the scaling process; and
  • Improving monitoring and evaluation (M&E) capacity through capacity building, mentorship and M&E funding for selected implementing organizations, to improve evidence-based decision making.

Five implementing agencies (“innovation teams”) that are in the process of scaling education innovations in humanitarian crisis settings were selected for the first round of the HEA: Caritas Switzerland, Essence of Learning; Kepler; Libraries Without Borders, Ideas Box; War Child Holland, Can’t Wait to Learn; and World University Service of Canada, Equity in Education.

Image of Thomas de Hoop
Managing Economist and Program Area Lead, Agriculture, Food Security, and Nutrition
Hannah Ring Headshot
Managing Director
Andrea Coombes
Principal Researcher