Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge

Grant OrganiserCreating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge is a partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, with support from Grand Challenges Canada.
Grant Overview

Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge is seek life-saving or life-improving innovations to help the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict. These innovations will involve a connection to the private sector and input from people affected by humanitarian crisis in order to provide safe drinking water, sanitation, energy, lifesaving information, or health supplies and services to help conflict-affected people.

The Humanitarian Grand Challenge is focused on addressing the most acute needs in conflict-affected areas that have the potential to be solved by innovation in one or more of the following four areas: (1) safe water and sanitation; (2) energy; (3) life-saving information; and/or (4) health supplies and services. Innovations must enable local solutions, serve local needs and delivery gaps, overcome common delivery barriers in conflict settings, or improve on the timeliness and cost efficiency of current humanitarian delivery methods. We also welcome innovations that help to maintain services and infrastructure, avoiding further deterioration.

Proposed innovations should clearly describe the problem they have identified, the underlying causes of the specific problem, and how the identified innovation will address one or more of the causes. Innovations in processes or approaches (e.g. adapting a private sector approach to the humanitarian context) are particularly welcome.

Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants include social enterprises and other recognized institutions (e.g., non-profit organizations and for-profit companies) that are formed and legally incorporated, that can successfully execute the activities in their respective technical area, and that are capable of receiving and administering grant funding. Sole proprietorships are not eligible for funding. In our past experience, we have found that multilateral organizations such as the UN are typically unable to agree to the terms and conditions of our funding agreements.

1. We highly recommend that these organizations instead apply through a local eligible partner organization. Staff from the UN office could act as collaborators on the project.

2. A project can have only one Project Lead, who must be affiliated with the institution from which the proposal is being submitted.

3. A Project Lead may only be listed on one (1) application to this Request for Proposals. An institution may be the applicant on multiple applications, provided all applications have different Project Leads.

4. Applications must include all required information. Only complete applications will be considered by the Review Committee.

5. The Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners may, at any time and at their sole discretion, modify eligibility criteria with respect to individual applicants, Project Leads and/or eligible countries, to the extent that such modifications do not materially undermine the review process.

Please note that Grand Challenges Canada must approve any changes in applicant organization, institution or Project Lead from the originally-funded grant.

Merit Criteria

The process for review of proposals for both seed and Transition To Scale funding includes an Eligibility Screen, Innovation Screen and Review Committee.

Eligibility Screen

Grand Challenges Canada will screen applications and Letters of Intent on the basis of the eligibility criteria outlined in Section 4.1. Applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria will be removed from the competition.

Innovation Screen

Applications will be scored internally against the criteria below, using responses to questions in the “Project Summary” section. The two criteria are equally weighted.

Level of Funding:

Seed Funding

Through this Request for Proposals, the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners will award seed funding of up to $250,000 CAD per project over a maximum of twenty-four (24) months. In addition to award funding, awardees may receive additional support, such as publicity and marketing promotional support; access to exclusive industry, investor and partner networking events; and basic acceleration support, mentorship opportunities and partnership brokering. The level of funding requested should be sufficient to assure completion of the goals in the stated time frame and must be fully justified. 9 We expect to award up to 25 seed grants through this Request for Proposals. At the end of the seed funding stage, if having achieved proof of concept, innovations may be invited to apply to the Transition To Scale funding track.

Transition To Scale (TTS) Funding

Strategic partnerships are required for the transition to scale and sustainability of innovative solutions. Matched funding (cash) from strategic partners for activities that further the growth, development, commercialization or adoption of the innovation (e.g., manufacturing, distribution, marketing, networks) will be interpreted as an increased commitment by a partner. Most awardees will be required to secure a 1:1 match within the TTS funding period; however, this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis during the due diligence process. Strategic partners may provide human and other non-financial resources to the project activities; however, awardees are not allowed to rely only upon these types of inkind contributions to meet the matching requirements. Through this Request for Proposals, the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners will award Transition To Scale funding of up to $1,000,000 CAD per project over a maximum of twenty-four (24) months.

Important Dates:

The first request for proposals (RFP) closed in April 2018 and focused on innovations that provide, supply, or locally generate: 1) energy; 2) safe water and sanitation; 3) life-saving information; and/or 4) health services and supplies to help conflict-affected people.

This resulted in over 615 applications from 86 different countries; 48% of which came from lower- and middle-income countries. About one-third of the applications involved projects led by women. Twenty-two seed proposal finalists were selected by a panel of experts in the first call for innovations.

The second round call for proposals is now open! Final proposals are due on Tuesday 16 July 2019 at 11:00am ET. Visit the RFP section for detailed information on how to apply.

Contact Details:Please first reference our “Frequently Asked Questions” located on the Humanitarian Grand Challenge website. Questions about this Request for Proposals that are not addressed in the above FAQ may be submitted by email to before July 5, 2019.
Further Information and Applications: