Project Stand Up

Supporting displaced young people to take leadership of their own education and addressing the underlying barriers to participation.
Refugee participation

Project Stand Up

Supporting displaced young people to take leadership of their own education and addressing the underlying barriers to participation.

The project in brief

Implemented by

Project Stand Up (PSU)

PSU is a refugee-led initiative guided by youth adult partnership (YAP) methodology and refugee-led action and allyship principles.





PSU is an ongoing initiative. It’s current ideation of the youth training program, the PSU Champion Education Program, is planned to be completed by the end of 2019.

Project aims

  • Improve female participation in learning opportunities, formal and informal.
  • Increase young people's participation in designing and leading solutions to problems that matter most to them in their communities.
  • Increase access to information for women in refugee communities.

Resources used

  • Funding and support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Funding from UNHCR Innovation Service, Community Connectivity Fund.
  • Support from local Non-profit, and International non-profit, HOST International.

Partners (Malaysian organization)

HOST International (Australian organization)

Challenges and how they were overcome


  • Implementing YAP methodology and following refugee-led action and allyship principles takes a serious commitment from all parties involved to challenge their own sense of power and power relations that they are used to and comfortable with.
  • Discussing gender across age-groups and genders in a way that brings people together rather than alienates them from your project.
  • Supporting new people to the project to gain the confidence to take responsibility and a leadership role within their communities.

How they were overcome

  • Through strong and long-term commitment made by PSU team members to move up the YAP ladder and respect refugee-led action and allyship principles, lead by example, and commit to a willingness to engage in difficult and challenging conversations.
  • By giving young people the knowledge and support they need to lead the way in introducing new topics, such as gender stereotypes, into discussions and forums in their communities.
  • Engage new young people through peer to peer outreach and learning models.

Results of the Good Practice

  • Increased participation and ownership among refugee youth (male and female) in actively working to improve access to education and participation in decision-making for girls and young women in their communities;
  • Improved employment skills through improved communication, project management, project design, monitoring and evaluation, and data collection among young people involved in PSU’s Champion Education program;
  • Increased awareness about gender equity and equality among students and teachers in participating community learning center’s using the Champion Education program.

How the project meets the GCR Objectives

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

PSU enhances refugee self-reliance through its Champion Education Program. In 2018, PSU designed, developed, and launched the Project Stand Up Champion Education program, which includes a training program and mobile application for apple and android.

The Project Stand Up Champion Education program is comprised of a refugee youth led education and training program, learning hub and app service, creating a service ecosystem where displaced young people take leadership of their own education while also addressing the underlying factors inhibiting participation- the gender norms and household work that keep girls away from school.

Integral to the PSU champion education model is whole-of-self development, including leadership, communication, team work skills as well as empathy and well-being of students. The PSU mobile application connects the community with students (youth studying at a PSU hub) and allows them to request a ‘champion’ when there is a competing responsibility keeping a child from going to school, particularly female students (i.e.childcare/housework). Champions are trained young people who gain valuable volunteer experience as leaders and change-agents within their community.

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 ‘female-only’ work. It encourages and supports champions to develop important leadership, communication, team-work skills as well as empathy.

Currently, the PSU champion education program, version 2.0, is underdevelopment. The updated program focuses on improving access to information for women, through funding form the UNHCR Innovation Service, Community Connectivity Fund.

Next steps 

Currently, we are designing and piloting a PSU Champion Education Program Version 2.0 and working to create a sustainable business model that will allow us to scale the use of the program to other communities.


Submitted by: 

Abeera Abdullah, Co-Founder & Vice President, Project Stand Up