Sub-regional Response Facility: Innovation in the Resilience-Based Development Response to the Syria Crisis

Innovation Areas: DESIGN THINKING
Stage: Early stage

Programmatic support and innovation jam to design and prototype innovative interventions for Syrian refugees and host communities

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The problem addressed

The Syria crisis, in its fourth year, is characterized by progressive complexity and uncertainty for Syria as well as neighboring countries affecting livelihoods and development gains in the sub-region.

The intervention

In an attempt to design and implement innovative responses to address the growing difficulties faced by the populations affected by the Syria Crisis, the UNDP Sub-Regional Response Facility (SRF) hosted an Innovation Jam, the first in a series, in November 2014 in Amman, Jordan. The event, which aimed to generate innovative ideas to improve livelihoods for host communities and refugees through a resilience lens, brought together UNDP colleagues from Country Offices most affected by this conflict: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. Participants addressed their country-specific challenges by engaging in a design-thinking process to facilitate and guide out-of-the-box thinking in problem definition, idea generation and planning. Some ideas included rethinking currency to create a mobile minutes bank; creating a community-based online platform for employment and providing lucrative solutions to solid waste management. 

The partners

Nesta, a UK-based innovation agency and one of UNDP’s partners in social innovation. UNDP colleagues from Country Offices most affected by this conflict: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey, as well as from UNDP's Global Innovation Facility and Kolba Labs of UNDP Armenia.


Five prototype ideas developed during the two-day workshop. The SRF will be working with the Country Offices to support these ideas moving forward as they’re co-created, prototyped and tested with end-users.

Lessons identified

Contact person

Koh Miyaoi:, Rebecca Sonntag:

Related materials

TeamWorks Article: Summary of two-day design thinking event

Storify: Innovation jam for the Syria Crisis

Blog Post: Innovation is imperative to address the Syria crisis

Teamworks space: Syria Crisis, a resilience-based development response



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