Education Innovation Awards 2021

Innovation, Investment, Inspiration

Unlock Your Education Innovation with Theirworld!

Applications have now closed.

Are you working hard to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable young people? Does your organisation have ambitions to take those ideas and projects to the next level? 

Theirworld can help you to unlock your potential. Our Education Innovation Awards 2021 will help interesting and exciting programmes prepare to scale up and reach even more marginalised children and youth. Open to non-profits, NGOs and charities, the Awards will help five winners to build their skills and capacities through masterclasses, one-to-one mentoring and £50,000 scale-ready grants. 

Innovation, Investment, Inspiration

The core themes of our Education Innovation Awards are Innovation, Investment and Inspiration.

For nearly 20 years Theirworld has been partnering with organisations to help every child have the best start in life, a safe place to learn and skills for the future.

We value collaboration and want to work with leaders, changemakers and innovators who have exciting projects to fuel this change.


Theirworld is awarding £50,000 scale-ready grants to five organisations actively working towards reaching marginalised learners in Greece, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, Tanzania, Turkey or Uganda.

The scale-ready grants are designed to help cover the necessary scaleup costs, generate evidence and help push pilot projects forwards.

Theirworld values education at all levels and wants to ensure that participating organisations learn from this Award.

We will offer targeted introductory classes to the finalists, masterclasses to the Awards winners, build connections and hone the skills needed to scale up an innovation.

Eligibility criteria 

To apply for the Education Innovation Awards, your innovation must be:  

  1. Registered as a nonprofit, NGO or charity 
  2. At pilot stage with 200+ beneficiaries and 18+ months’ existence and some initial evidence of scaleup potential  
  3. Working in, or planning to scale up to, one or more of the countries in which Theirworld is currently working: Greece, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, Tanzania, Turkey, or Uganda.   
  4. Focused on an issue that falls under one or more of Theirworld’s three pillars:  
    1. The best start in life - includes a healthy birth, and quality and inclusive early childhood education. 
    2. A safe place to learn - means looking out for vulnerable children and youth, especially children in emergencies and conflict. 
    3. Skills for the future - ensures all young people are ready to become engaged citizens able to participate meaningfully in society and the future of work. 
  5. Reaching marginalised learners, such as people in poverty and/or refugee or displaced populations. 

If your innovation does not meet the eligibility criteria, please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on how you can stay in touch for future Awards.  

Does it sound like your project would be a good fit? Applications are open now until 23:59 BST on 11 June 2021.  

Applications are now closed.


It takes 3 minutes to check your eligibility

OR

Download a PDF copy of the eligibility questionnaire

Innovation Awards timeline

How to apply

The process is super simple: 

  • Check your eligibility – 3 minutes. 
  • Complete the application form, budget, and short video – 30-45 minutes. 

Download the application documents:

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Education Innovation Awards

They will help support pilot-stage grantees to make their innovations scale-ready, by building their skills and capacity through introductory classes, masterclasses, mentoring and £50,000 scale-ready grants.


It is separated into two stages.

The first is a simple three-minute eligibility form that will ascertain if you are eligible for the programme. You will be required to accept our privacy policy at this stage in order to submit your application. Even if you do not meet the eligibility criteria (see the question below), you are still welcome to submit this form and we will be in contact with you when a suitable opportunity arises.


If you are eligible, you will be invited to complete the application form. This form should take 30-45 minutes to complete. You will also be asked to submit a detailed budget form, a two-minute video, supporting documentation (including a safeguarding policy).


You must submit your application using the link which you will receive after your eligibility form has been accepted.




Applications that meet the eligibility criteria will be considered for the Education Innovation Awards. However, all interested applicants are still strongly encouraged to complete the eligibility form as Theirworld is always looking for exciting projects.


Organisations should be:


1. Registered as a nonprofit, NGO, or charity (evidence of status will be required) 

2. At pilot stage with 200+ beneficiaries and 18+ months’ existence, and some initial evidence of scaleup potential  

3. Working in, or planning to scale up to, one or more of the priority countries: Greece, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, Tanzania, Turkey, or Uganda.   

4. Focused on an issue that falls under one or more of Theirworld’s three pillars:  

-- The best start in life - includes a healthy birth, and quality and inclusive early childhood education. 

-- A safe place to learn - means looking out for vulnerable children and youth, especially children in emergencies and conflict. 

-- Skills for the future - ensures all young people are ready to become engaged citizens able to participate meaningfully in society and the future of work. 

5. Reaching marginalised learners, such as people in poverty and/or refugee or displaced populations. 



It takes 3 minutes to check your eligibility


For these Awards we are prioritising countries where Theirworld currently supports existing projects on the ground. This is so we can offer tailored support to teams during the masterclasses and mentoring, based on our experience of working in these specific environments.


If you have an innovation in another country, please complete our three-minute eligibility form and we will keep you informed if future opportunities arise.



It takes 3 minutes to check your eligibility



We are currently developing a range of other support tools and funding opportunities and would like to stay in touch. Even if you do not meet the above criteria, please complete the eligibility form, to give us the key information about your innovation ideas. We will let you know if any future opportunities arise.


Meanwhile, if you know someone else who would be a good fit, please share the opportunity with them!


The process is simple:


1. Check your eligibility – three minutes.


2. Complete the application form, budget, and short video – 30-45 minutes.


3. See the timeline for key dates and deadlines above this section of this page.


Once applications have closed on 11 June 2021, Theirworld will pass the eligible applications to our technical selection panel. They will use the eligibility criteria and programme objectives to select 10 finalists to invite to the online Introductory classes.


After the Introductory classes, the 10 finalists will be invited to submit their scaleup strategy and budget, to apply for the £50,000 scale-ready grants.


The panel will review and select their finalists, which will be approved by the Theirworld Trustees.


The Theirworld Education Innovation Awards will run from May 2021 – July 2022. This period is broken down into three stages:


Applications: May 2021

The Award application will be open from 3 May – 11 June 2021.


Introductory class for 10 finalists: June – August 2021

10 finalists will be invited to Introductory classes to develop their scaleup strategy. Finalists will submit their scaleup strategy.


Scale-ready Grant & Masteclasses: September 2021 – July 2022

During this 10-month period, five Award winners will receive £50,000 scale-ready grants, masterclasses and personalised mentoring. In parallel with this programme, Award winners will be actively implementing their scaleup plans.


The Introductory classes and Masterclasses will set your innovation up for a successful scaleup through capacity and skills building.


The Introductory classes will consist of intensive workshops to prepare your team to create a strong, thoughtful and focused scaleup strategy.


The Masterclasses will prepare Award winners to scale up by providing an in-depth understanding of organisational development, stress testing solutions, partnerships and other core building blocks for successful scaleup.


The Masterclasses will be complemented by one-to-one mentoring for each team.


Theirworld aims to award the scale-ready grants to non-profits looking to scale up their promising pilot-stage innovations and reach their full potential.


The scale-ready grants must go towards getting the winning innovation ready for the next stages of growth and the costs directly associated with this.


The costs will differ between organisations, but during the application process and scaleup strategy you will be asked to define what your organisation would like to spend the scale-ready grant on.


You will submit a budget outline when you apply, and you can also change this during the process and with our experts’ guidance.


Organisations we work with highly value our collaborative approach, flexibility, and our shared purpose.


We believe these Awards help to fill a global gap in support and financing, that is holding back big change in education. We want to unleash your potential and help you grow.


1. Theirworld’s Education Innovation Awards are specifically targeted at non-profits planning to scale up a pilot innovation. Our Masterclass programme is highly customised to this stage and will be adapted to the needs of the Award winners. There is a global gap in support and opportunities at this stage in the education sector, and we aim to be part of solving that problem.


2. We offer a £50,000 grant and will never request any kind of equity in your organisation.


3. We also hope that there will be opportunities for us to work together to secure co-funding that could support the innovation to go the next level, decided on a case-by-case basis.


We see these Innovation Award winners as critical investment in your scalling journey and the future impact thats that innovations can have.


Through being involved in this programme, Finalists and Awards winners will benefit from exposure via Theirworld’s public communications and internal networks. Award winners will also have the opportunity to present their innovations and scaleup plans to an audience of supporters and potential funders at the end of the programme.


When you graduate from the Masterclasses and mentoring, you will have a clear case for fundraising to grow your innovation.


We also hope that there will be opportunities for us to work together to secure co-funding that could support the innovation to go to the next level, decided on a case-by-case basis.


Our scaleup expert and a Theirworld projects specialist will be your main mentors and will work with you regularly to review how your plans are progressing and identify further support needs. Where you need specialised support in particular areas, we will explore how any of the members of the Theirworld and Global Business Coalition networks might be able to help us to support you. We will guide you to get the most out of the mentoring opportunity and ensure high quality.


You will also be offered quarterly sessions with a dedicated Monitoring & Evaluation mentor, to help you with your evidence generation plans.


No, your organisation does not need to be headquartered, registered in or physically based in one of the priority countries. Your organisation can be headquartered, registered in or physically based in a different country that is not one of the priority countries.


However, your organisation must be a registered nonprofit, NGO, or charity and your innovation must be running in one of the priority countries. You must provide evidence of strong on the ground delivery mechanisms and be able to show that your operations are conducted in line with that country's laws and regulations. You may also apply if your organisation is expanding its work into one of the priority countries, provided this expansion is underway by September 2021 and/or is included as part of your scale-up plan you submit to Theirworld.


Even if you are not working in one of our priority countries, please complete the eligibility form, to give us the key information about your innovation. We will let you know when future opportunities arise.


Both the Introductory classes and Masterclasses will be delivered online.
If you have any questions about this award or the application, you can reach out to Theirworld’s Innovation Team at [email protected]

About Theirworld


Theirworld is a global children’s charity committed to ending the global education crisis and unleashing the potential of the next generation.


Read our 2020 round-up blog post here.


Theirworld acts on the ground to support education for some of the most marginalised children in the world.


Our projects are currently running in seven countries: Greece, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, Tanzania, Turkey and Uganda.


Working to support refugees in Greece, Lebanon and Turkey, we focus on delivering education to children in crisis and on increasing the provision of inclusive and accessible pre-primary education.


In sub-Saharan Africa and Lebanon, we are piloting an exciting digital literacy curriculum, across five countries, to offer girls the skills they will need to succeed in the digital economy.


Wherever we work, we aim to foster innovation, sustainability and scalability, and to build the capacity of systems for the long term in support of SDG 4.


Working alongside our project partners is at the heart of what we do. Instead of answering this question ourselves, we asked our existing project partners to provide feedback on what it is like to work with Theirworld:


"The organization cares: they invest time and effort to conduct field visits, they listen and are flexible, they trust our knowledge of the local communities and their needs, they align fully with our commitment to the success of each child we work with."- Nicole Eid Abuhaydar, Executive Director of Unite Lebanon Youth Project - ULYP


"There is a true sense of partnership when conceptualising the work, reading the outcomes and considering next steps. Theirworld has expressed a genuine value for organic development and emergency response."- Dr. Bassel Akar, Associate Professor of Education and Director, Center for Applied Research in Education, Notre Dame University - Louaize


"Theirworld team was enthusiastically involved with SKILD in all stages of the project, from designing the theory of change to implementation. The flexibility of the team made it possible to propose new ideas and adapt plans in accordance with the rising situations, in this case the uprising in Lebanon and the Covid-19 pandemic. Theirworld's motivation to provide equal educational opportunities to vulnerable children was in line with our vision and passion." -Daniella Daou, Partner Relations Coordinator, SKILD Lebanon


You can find out more about Theirworld’s work at www.theirworld.org as well as finding us @theirworld on Twitter and @theirworldorg on Instagram. You can listen to the Better Angels podcast hosted by Sarah Brown here.


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