Updated Mar 29, 2019

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Project Stand Up

Part of Host International

An education model for accessible, creative learning for displaced persons powered by youth

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Melita Smilovic

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Stage 3: Proof of Concept

The Project Stand Up (PSU) model has been tested with Somali and Arabic speaking refugees in Malaysia through a 3 month pilot. During the pilot 160 students, 9 teachers, 35 families, and 20 young people participated.

Registered as a Non-Profit in Australia.

Focus Areas:

Inclusive Education, Gender Equity and Refugees

Inclusive Education, Gender Equity and RefugeesSEE LESS

Implemented In:


MalaysiaSEE LESS

Lives Impacted to Date
Country Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date
Verified Funding


UNESCO estimates the demand for teachers in developing countries will double by 2030, requiring an additional 69 million new educators globally. Of the six million primary and secondary school-age refugees under UNHCR's mandate, 3.7 million have no school to go. Worldwide, girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys in conflict-affected regions.



Project Stand Up - a learning hub and app, creating a service ecosystem where displaced young people take leadership in their own education, while also addressing the underlying factors inhibiting participation - the gender norms and household work that keeps girls away from school.

Target Beneficiaries

Displaced young people experiencing difficulty accessing education, particularly girls.

Mission and Vision

VISION More young people, particularly girls, speak up and participate in learning, decision making and initiating solutions to issues that matter most to them. MISSION To get young refugees to support young refugees to develop the skills they need to ensure youth actively participate in designing solutions, participate in decision-making, and have access to learning opportunities, particularly for girls and young women.

Innovation Description


The Project Stand Up Hub (PSU) model makes education a ‘team sport', where communities engage more heavily in educating youth, taking the burden off of teachers in the classroom and freeing them to become education facilitators with the capacity to support more students to meet their individual needs and to help them to achieve their own educational goals.

Integral to the PSU hub model is whole-self development, including leadership, communication, team-work skills as well as empathy and well-being of students. Our PSU mobile application connects the community with students (youth studying at a PSU hub) and allows them to request a 'champion' (a PSU hub student) when there is a competing responsibility keeping a child from going to school, particularly female students (i.e. childcare/housework).

The PSU app builds connection between families and youth. It promotes and celebrates the importance of accessing education. It breaks down gender norms by having 'champions' complete tasks that are often thought to be 'women's/girls' work. It encourages and supports 'champions' (PSU hub youth students) to develop important leadership, communication, team-work skills as well as empathy. These skills support their classroom learning allowing them to take advantage of self-directed learning.

Competitive Advantage

Many initiatives focus on supporting informal refugee schools and refugee teachers through capacity building and trainings. The PSU hub model flips this. We focus on developing the capacity of the students (youth) to be successful learners as a way to support teachers of refugees and to provide flexible, individualized learning, particularly for girls.

We are co-designing project Stand Up with youth, communities and families, who are the users. Too often end users are designed 'for', not 'with', and the product does not meet their needs. Here, the users are the creators, designing to meet their own needs.

The team is backed by a robust partnership between Payong (http://www.payong.org/) - which focuses on a collaborative rebuilding of refugee lives and marginalised peoples via education, enterprise and empowerment - and HOST International https://www.hostinternational.org.au/, which focuses on empowering displaced people and host communities to innovate & develop new models for living, working, educating and seeking protection.

Planned Goals and Milestones

  • Select and train a pilot cohort of 25 young people (16-25 years) (refugees from Somali and Arabic speaking countries, living in an urban setting in Gombak) to study at the PSU hub.
  • Work with a Community Learning center, providing primary and lower-secondary education to Somali and Arabic speaking communities in Gombak, to have families (at least 100) trial the use of our mobile application for a period of 3-6 months.
  • Monitor, Evaluate, Learn, Iterate and Scale.
Funding Goal300,000
New Implemented CountriesJordan

The Team Behind the Innovation

The Project Stand Up team is powered by eight youth leaders from Somalia, Yemen and Libya who are currently living in Kuala Lumpur as refugees. The youth team is supported by an adult team from Payong, which focuses on a collaborative rebuilding of refugee lives via education, enterprise and empowerment & HOST International, which focuses on empowering displaced people and host communities to innovate & develop new models for living, working, educating and seeking protection.




Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Feb 2019
Lives Impacted
Jan 2019
New Product or Service
Launch of Project Stand Up App in Google Play store Malaysia
Aug 2017
Apr 2017
New Country Implemented In

Supporting Materials