Innovating For
Every Child

Accelerating social entrepreneurs to solve the most pressing challenges facing children and youth worldwide. Matching today’s challenges with tomorrow’s solutions, starting with water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).

The Power of Partnership

Building on a 70-year history of innovating for children, UNICEF has partnered with Duke University to identify the world’s most pressing challenges for youth today—and to find the bold minds who can come up with the solutions.

By pairing UNICEF’s commitment to children and global reach with Duke’s expertise in social innovation, the Innovation Accelerator will make a real and lasting difference in the lives of children around the world.

Teams accepted into the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator will receive funding, mentorship, and other capacity building support from Duke University staff, faculty, students and our global networks.

Novel Ideas. Unique Model.

The Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator funds and supports social entrepreneurs in each cohort for two years. Each year, we seek out teams tackling a different challenge impacting the lives and outcomes of children across the globe.

Current cohorts are focused on expanding education and access to menstrual health and hygiene and broader access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene.

Partnering with Game-Changing Leaders

The social enterprises the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator supports have developed dynamic solutions to complex challenges facing their communities across Africa. Teams are selected for their deep understanding of the issues and for their innovative, game-changing approaches to addressing them. 

Our Distinctives

Opportunity to Work at Scale

The wide reaches of UNICEF and Duke enables good ideas to be scaled effectively, while improving the internal capacities of the social entrepreneurs we work with.

Leveraging ecosystems for maximum social benefit

The challenges that social entrepreneurs tackle are complex and multi-faceted. The Accelerator helps social entrepreneurs shape the ecosystems they work within to create lasting social change, while providing access to Duke and UNICEF networks.

Creating collective impact

By catalyzing the work of several social entrepreneurs focused on a similar challenge, the Accelerator moves the needle on the most pressing issues facing children globally.

Building the evidence base for social entrepreneurship

With an emphasis on data, the Accelerator hopes to generate more and high-quality evidence on the impact of social entrepreneurs’ work in the field. Along the way, we’ll share lessons learned to benefit the greater global community in supporting social entrepreneurs.

The Groundbreaking Opportunity

“The Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator holds incredible, nearly limitless promise to reach more children in new ways. Not just through technology, but through new partnerships, new ways of working, new sources of financing, and new ways to identify and scale up promising platforms, services, and programs that will reach more children and young people in need.

-Former UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore

“This partnership is a tremendous opportunity for Duke to help children around the world and cultivate a new generation of humanitarian entrepreneurs. Our expertise in social entrepreneurship will serve as a strong foundation for the Accelerator, and our hope is that the connections we facilitate among innovators, faculty, students and other partners will unite and mobilize our whole community.”

-Duke I&E Director, Jon Fjeld

Stay Up to Date

Keep up with our social entrepreneurs’ progress and the impact we’re making together.