Reading time

UN Global Pulse is thrilled to announce the launch of its new programme, the UN Global Pulse Scale Accelerator, and introduce the teams participating in the first cohort. 

To further advance its mission of strengthening the ability of the UN family and those it serves to anticipate, respond, and adapt to the challenges of today and tomorrow, UN Global Pulse initiated a Call For Applications extended to the entire UN System on December 14, 2023, for its new programme. 

The UN Global Pulse Scale Accelerator is a system-wide service that serves as a structured programme for unlocking the potential of innovative solutions from the pilot stage to scale. Built upon insights from the 2023 Scaling the Summit Research, this programme is designed to assist ideas that have undergone practical testing in real-world contexts within the development sector, fostering widespread transformation across the UN System. 

A total of 70 applications were received from various regions worldwide, featuring diverse teams representing 18 different UN entities. After rigorous evaluation, only seven teams were selected to participate in a series of six Scale Strategy Development Workshop sessions scheduled to be conducted online until March 1, 2024. Throughout these sessions, Scale Strategies will be built incrementally. Participants will acquire essential skills, methodologies, and tools to conduct gap analyses systematically, identify scaling requirements for their pilot projects, establish immediate goals and develop a long-term vision for their projects. 

Teams will have one week to finalise and submit their final Scale Strategy for review by an external panel. Following this, the two projects with the most compelling strategies will receive a Scale Catalyst Grant (approximately USD 60,000 for each team), along with Strategic Mentoring and Technical Advice to guide the implementation of their strategic vision.

Discover more about the first cohort here: 

Project: iDiaspora 

UN Agency: IOM

The Innovation: A digital platform that offers a comprehensive solution to the challenges posed by limited human and economic capital, particularly in resource-constrained countries and the lack of scale and sustainability of diaspora association’s collaboration opportunities. By providing a centralised and collaborative digital space for diaspora engagement, it serves as a one-stop shop to streamline efforts, foster collaboration, and facilitate peer learning and economies of scale. Additionally, it enables the identification of opportunities for diasporas to contribute effectively to their host and home communities, maximising impact in advancing developmental goals.

Participating Team: Anke Van De Velde, Field Testing and Community Relations Advisor; Daphne Henning, Communications Catalyst; Larisa Lara, Diaspora Specialist and Manager; Janelle Yu, UI/UX Expert; Roberto Cancel, Solutions Engineer 

Project: EmpowerU 

UN Agency: UNFPA

The Innovation: An out-of-school digital sexual education project for аdolescents hosted on Instagram with a strong emphasis on adolescents’ physical and mental health in humanitarian settings and the provision of expert psychological advice in complex humanitarian contexts. Through animated videos and interactive social media content based on the gender-neutral character Pubertat, it engages adolescents as co-creators, fostering resilience, challenging stereotypes, and promoting relevant knowledge for informed decision-making in the face of adversity. Anchored on expert psychological support, it emphasises topics such as personal safety, healthy relationships, and reproductive health.

Participating Team:  Liudmyla Shevtsova, Programme Analyst; Maryna Semeneko, Communication and Media Associate; Olesia Kaplun, Communication Assistant; Valeriia Taran-Gaiduk, Project Coordinator; Yevheniia Nesterenko, Programme Associate

Project: Be-Map

UN Agency: FAO with Busara Center for Behavioural Economics

The Innovation: A behavioural design process to foster co-creation, testing and scaling of locally-led solutions that improve climate-smart agriculture and safe slaughterhouse practices. It targets the gap between awareness and action in the agricultural sector, emphasising the importance of behavioural science. Instead of focusing solely on technological solutions, the initiative offers a practical guideline to nudge human behaviours in community-based development and relief efforts, aiming to make good practices more adoptable and impactful by adjusting social, psychological, and physical contexts. 

Participating Team: Deborah Duveskog, Agriculture and Resilience Officer; Judith Mulinge, Communications and Outreach Specialist; Julia Hammann, Senior Associate, Busara Center for Behavioural Economics; Tabitha Kimani, Regional Socio-economist and Antimicrobial Resistance Coordinator; Tian Cai, Plant Production and Protection Division (NSP) Outposted to FAO Kenya Representation

Project: Tobacco Free Farms 

UN Agency: WHO with UNCDF,  WFP and Cereal Growers Association

The Innovation: A support system service that facilitates economically viable alternatives for smallholder tobacco farmers, enabling them to transition from tobacco farming to alternative livelihoods. By establishing partnerships across sectors, it ensures farmers receive comprehensive support, including access to quality inputs and markets. Through the emphasis on sustainable practices, regenerative agriculture, and strategic linkages, such as cultivating high-iron beans and supporting women and children, the project promotes income generation, improved health outcomes, and land regeneration, addressing the challenges of tobacco farming’s impact on health, economy, and environment.

Participating Team: Alphonce Bolo, Regional Agribusiness Coordinator; Joash Kutayi Okachia, Investment Analyst; Simone St Claire, New Initiatives Consultant; Mary Wanjohi, Programme Associate; Nancy Silong, Project Assistant

Project: Smart Markets 

UN Agency: FAO

The innovation:  A pathogen surveillance service coupled with aerial and terrestrial drones to collect remote samplings of zoonotic disease in live animal markets. By utilising advanced environmental sampling techniques like air sampling and environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis, the approach offers a more comprehensive, less invasive, and cost-effective strategy for pathogen detection and species identification. It includes the implementation of air sampling devices to capture a broad spectrum of airborne particles, enabling non-invasive monitoring in hard-to-reach places. Compared to traditional methods, which are often costly, labour-intensive, and species-specific, this innovation provides a safer and more efficient alternative, contributing to better disease risk management and international health security agendas.

Participating Team: Erik Karlsson, Regional Laboratory Expert; Farida Zenal, Country National Veterinary Advisor; Filip Claes, Global Health Security Program Coordinator

Project: Farm2Go 

UN Agency: WFP

The Innovation:  A mobile and web application that helps smallholder farmers by providing access to vital information on effective agricultural practices and a digital marketplace for fair transactions and novel opportunities. Through SMS updates, it enhances transparency and trust in the value chain while empowering women farmers to overcome discrimination. Additionally, the platform facilitates capacity-building among cooperatives, enabling practical training on topics like post-harvest loss management and climate-smart agriculture, with data collected for evidence-based decision-making by WFP to enhance programme effectiveness.

Participating Team: Casper Strydom, Digital Agriculture Officer; Diana Lucia Suarez, Farm2Go Product Manager; Kamrul Hasan Nadim, Retail Monitoring Assistant; Kiyomichi Mitsukoshi, Lead of Host Community Resilience; Mostafizur Rahman, Resilience Programme Associate; Patricia (Pia) Facultad, Regional Bureau Business Transformation Officer; Victor Chagona, IT Officer

Project: DrugDash

UN Agency: UNFPA with DrugDash

The Innovation:  A web and mobile application for District Health Officers to monitor, redistribute and combat drug stock-outs and expiries in Uganda’s health facilities. This innovation provides real-time information on family planning commodities stock, enabling accurate and timely decisions on redistribution to reduce shortages and wastage. The overall aim is to improve access to family planning methods for women and girls through enhanced decision-making based on improved visibility of stock status within and between districts.

Participating Team: Josephine Zhane Omunyide, Innovation and Knowledge Management Specialist; Nampala Rahmah, Administrative Support; Samson Kapeyi, Technical Solutions Architect; Solomon Kahuma, Business Development; Timothy Kasule, Family Planning & Reproductive Health Commodities Specialist

If you are curious to learn more about this opportunity, please access the UN Global Pulse Scale Accelerator project page or contact Patricia Loh, UN Global Pulse Senior Analyst (Innovation Scaling) at