Call For Applications : The Duke – Unicef Innovation Accelerator For WASH

Innovation Accelerator 2022
Ready to scale your innovation and solutions in WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) ? 
The Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator, located at Duke University, was created to provide social entrepreneurs with the knowledge, tools, and networks needed to improve the lives of children worldwide. Duke – Unicef are looking for innovations that make WASH adaptive, safe, and resilient with a focus on engaging youth.  Innovations that contribute to futureproofing WASH, climate resilience or adaptation, or the circular economy in East Asia and Pacific. 



Water, sanitation, and health are at the core of sustainable development, and the range of services they provide underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. However, in recent decades overexploitation, pollution, and climate change have led to severe water stress in locales across the world. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose additional obstacles, impairing access for billions of people to safely managed drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services – services desperately needed to prevent the virus from spreading.
Now more than ever the world needs to transform the way it manages its water resources and delivers water and sanitation services for billions of people. Urgent action is needed to overcome this global WASH crisis, as it is affecting all countries around the world, socially, economically and environmentally.


Over the course of the 15-month accelerator, selected enterprises will receive : 
  • $25,000 unrestricted, one-time grant
  • Personalised coaching from social enterprise experts at Duke University and field experts from UNICEF
  • Bespoke mentoring
  • Customized capacity building and scale curriculum
  • Duke University student and faculty support
  • Access to our broad networks 
Accelerator awardees should anticipate the following as part of their participation:
  • participate in online communities and monthly webinars.
  • Participate in monthly calls for coaching, mentoring, and peer learning
  • Participate in the week-long Duke-UNICEF Virtual Forum on Social Innovation, held twice yearly
  • Develop a capacity-building plan for scaling their impact, with support from the Accelerator team
  • Implement and track progress of a customized capacity-building plan, with support from the accelerator team and other mentors
  • Report relevant program performance and financial data on a semi-annual basis
  • Share insights, promising practices, lessons learned, and other expertise with all social enterprises participating in the Accelerator
WASH Innovation Accelerator Programme 2022
image: Duke Unicef


OverThe Duke-Unicef Innovation Accelerator is open to any impact enterprises, working in or across East Asia and the Pacific (Cambodia, China, Indonesia, DPR Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, VietNam) that meet the following criteria : 
  • Is a non-profit, hybrid, or for-profit social enterprise
  • Has one to two founders/executives/senior leaders or program managers that can represent the enterprise over the course of the 15-month Accelerator and are comfortable and proficient in working in English
  • Organization representatives are under the age of 35, strong preference will be given to participants under 30
  • Has strong evidence of impact over at least 1-2 years and has a plan for how to use the Duke-UNICEF award to scale that impact in the next 3-5 years
  • Deploys a promising WASH product and/or service, innovative supply chain model, business model, or other approach that has potential for widespread, sustainable impact
  • Enterprise or enterprise innovation adheres to UNICEF Innovation Principles
  • Active in any country, or multiple countries, in East Asia and the Pacific
  • Preference for a diverse, gender-equitable team; female entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply
  • Current student teams are not eligible 
Applications for 2022 are now open until 11:59p EDT on June 5!
Begin preparing your application by reviewing the questions offline HERE