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    The What Design Can Do Refugee Challenge is a global design competition in search for game-changing ideas for accommodating, connecting, integrating and helping the personal development of refugees. The challenge specifically focuses on refugees in urban areas, as nearly 60 percent of the world's 20 million refugees now live in urban areas.

    The Refugee Challenge is a joint initiative of What Design Can Do (WDCD), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the IKEA Foundation. The call for entries has now ended, and on 1 July 2016, the 5 winning projects were announced in Amsterdam during WDCD Live 2016!

    The best of the What Design Can Do Refugee Challenge 2016 has been announced! A committee of over 30 creative professionals and humanitarian experts selected 25 of the total 631 entries for the shortlist. On 30 June, the international jury met in Amsterdam to determine the 5 winning projects who will now receive 10,000 euros of funding each and expert guidance to turn their ideas into reality. See the finalists here.

    The ultimate goal of this 'Accelerate' phase, which ends on 2 October 2016, is to build a viable and sustainable start-up around each winner's concept. By realising five exemplifying cases in close collaboration with key stakeholders, we want to inspire governments, NGOs, and businesses to harness the power of creativity too. 

    We also encourage every participant of the challenge to continue working on their proposals and to take the feedback they received during this challenge and to run with it. The end of the ideation phase only means it is now time for all of us to make the move from inspiration to activation - so let's get going. The real work is only just beginning! Want to stay updated on the journey of the 5 winners? Keep your eyes on our blog.


    Challenge Background

    Around 60 percent of the world’s 20 million refugees live in urban areas, and that figure is set to rise. Bold, innovative solutions are needed for challenges related to housing, healthcare, education, work, cultural integration and many other areas. Read more

    Learn more about the 5 challenge briefings

    In shaping the challenge brief, extensive research was undertaken to identify the issues which experts and refugees alike say urgently require attention. This Challenge hopes to answer five different questions related to the refugee journey. Read more

    See the challenge timeline

    The WDCD Refugee Challenge is structured along seven phases. The process focuses on idea generation, feedback and improvement, selection of the finalists, acceleration of their ideas and creating the opportunities for implementation. Read more

    Get to know our international jury

    An international jury of renowned design professionals judged the entries according to creativity, relevance for refugees and other stakeholders, feasibility, scalability and potential impact. Read more