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Do you have an innovative solution to improve the lives of communities in conflict-affected regions? The U.S. Agency for International Development, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Global Affairs Canada, and Grand Challenges Canada are partnering on Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge (CHIC).
Grand Challenges Canada seeks bold, life-saving or life-improving innovations that better meet the needs of the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict.
Grand Challenges Canada will prioritize funding locally-owned innovations that are closest to those affected by conflict, and which can demonstrate the benefits of more localized ways of responding to humanitarian crises.
The Partnership came together to fund and accelerate solutions to improve humanitarian assistance for people affected by conflict. The program supports solutions aimed at better meeting the needs of conflict-affected communities, and solutions that have the potential to influence systems-level, transformative changes within the humanitarian sector.
Areas of Focus
- They are seeking innovations intended for conflict-affected communities that address challenges or seek to improve service provision in the following focus areas:
- access to energy;
- access to life-saving information; and
- access to health supplies and services. This RFP is soliciting new seed applications within these same areas of focus.
- To improve access to energy; life-saving information; or health supplies and services for affected communities, innovations should:
- Address one of the key barriers or challenges to service provision identified
- Involve input from people affected by humanitarian crisis.
- Demonstrate the potential to generate measurable and transformative impact on the lives of conflict-affected communities.
- Demonstrate the potential to engage humanitarian ecosystem actors in new ways of working and influence wider systems changes or shifts in humanitarian response efforts.
- The following describes types of barriers they seek to address and types of solutions they are interested in:
- Access to Energy
- Innovations that enable equitable and affordable access to climate-smart solutions and/or renewable energy products or services for the most vulnerable populations affected by conflict.
- Public sector energy is inaccessible and private sector renewable energy solutions can be unaffordable for the most vulnerable people in conflict-affected settings.
- Without sustainable business models, new energy systems lack adequate maintenance and fall into disrepair. This creates ineffective service provision.
- New solutions are needed that focus on aspects such as equitable service delivery, sustainable revenue models, and/or improved subsidy models to better meet energy needs of the most vulnerable populations.
- Life-saving information
- Innovations that improve reliability and safety of critical or lifesaving information and/or improve two-way communication.
- Access to reliable and safely transmitted critical or “life-saving” information is a prevalent challenge in conflict-affected settings.
- Appropriate two-way communication between affected communities and humanitarian responders is often difficult to achieve, which can lead to mistrust and frustration with the overall response.
- Solutions are needed to enable more timely/reliable access to critical information, while ensuring adequate data security and privacy measures are in place to protect the most vulnerable.
- Solutions that better integrate the voices, opinions and feedback of affected communities into all stages of humanitarian response efforts.
- While they are interested in solutions that incorporate the use of artificial intelligence and/or machine learning, they are particularly interested in solutions that demonstrate sufficient consideration and application of do no harm principles into the use of such technologies.
- Health supplies and services
- Innovations that address barriers related to inadequate healthcare infrastructure, healthcare workers’ skills, and limitations of existing disease surveillance and response.
- Health care facilities are under-resourced, vulnerable to attack, lack adequate equipment maintenance, and have limited access to health care management technology. Assistive technologies that support people with disabilities are not available.
- Healthcare workers – both formal and informal – may require capacity strengthening support to address new and different diseases and injuries that occur in humanitarian settings.
- New solutions are needed to address limitations in the surveillance of and response to communicable and non-communicable diseases (including mental health issues) in conflict-affected settings.
- They are particularly interested in health-related solutions that consider the intersections of climate change and health (e.g., use of renewable energy, reduction/safe disposal of medical waste).
- Access to Energy
- Through this Request for Proposals, the Humanitarian Grand Challenge will award seed funding of up to $250,000 CAD per project over a maximum of twenty-four (24) months starting from April 2024.
Focus on Results
- The ultimate outcomes of interest for this Humanitarian Grand Challenge are lives saved and lives improved of conflict-affected people.
- Examples of how CHIC defines lives improved across different focus areas:
- Health: a reduction in morbidity through the effective prevention or treatment of a disease or health problem
- Energy: regular, consistent use of a stable and reliable energy source
- Life-saving Information: regular, consistent use of a reliable and accurate information source.
- Innovators funded under this program will be expected to engage in the following activities and provide the specific deliverables listed in order to demonstrate project progress and success:
- Performance reporting focused on utilization of funds and outcomes achieved. The frequency of reporting will be every three or six months, depending on the assessment of project and institutional risk.
- Dissemination of knowledge in a timely manner, including through social media, open access publications, depositing of data with individual identities protected into publicly accessible repositories, press releases, conferences, stakeholder engagement, etc. Acknowledgement of the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners will be required.
- A final report that accounts for financial expenditures and that captures a clear assessment of the impact of the project. Please note that a 5% hold back of funds will be applied to all funding under this program, to be released to innovators upon submission of a satisfactory final report and full justification of costs.
- Continued post-grant updates on impact, global access, data access and management of intellectual property rights in supported innovations.
- Eligible applicants include social enterprises and other recognized institutions (e.g., nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies) that
- are formed and legally incorporated
- can successfully execute the activities in their respective technical area
- can receive and administer grant funding.
- Sole proprietorships are not eligible for funding.
- In the past experience, they have found that multilateral organizations such as the UN are typically unable to agree to the terms and conditions of the funding agreements. They 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.
- A project can have only one Project Lead, who must be affiliated with the institution from which the proposal is being submitted.
- 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.
- Applications must include all required information. Only complete applications will be considered by the Review Committee.
- 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 or Project Lead, from the original application.
Note: Due to current Government of Canada legislation, at this time we are unable to consider solutions being implemented in Afghanistan.
For more information, visit CHIC.