The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) U.S. Global Development Lab has announced $6.2 million in new grants to 12 organizations from around the world. The awards are funded through the Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program, an open innovation fund that sources, tests, and scales breakthrough ideas that address global development challenges.
The 12 organizations will implement their innovations in over 10 different countries across a variety of sectors including health, education, and energy. The majority of the organizations are new to USAID.
“DIV seeks fresh, new ideas that can deliver more impact for less money and can lead to sustainable development solutions,” said Ann Mei Chang, USAID’s Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab. “We are excited to work with these awardees to solve problems facing millions of people around the world.”
DIV’s three-stage-funding model, inspired by venture capital funds, invests comparatively small amounts to test new stage one and stage two innovations. For innovations that demonstrate promise of impact at scale, DIV provides additional funding and hands-on support.
The following organizations have received stage one or stage two support to pilot and test their ideas in a developing country.
Stage one grants support the piloting of a solution in a developing country to gain an early, real-world assessment of the solution. New portfolio organizations and their countries of implementation include:
· Evaptainers (Morocco): Field tests and produces a portable, “zero-energy” evaporative cooling system for low-income farmers in off-grid areas.
· Koe Koe Tech (Burma): Tests and disseminates the maymay mHealth app, which connects women, men, couples, parents, and expecting parents to doctors and informational content to help reduce maternal and child mortality.
· myAgro (Senegal): Offers a mobile layaway platform to enable smallholder farmers to save for seed and fertilizer purchases during the planting season when they have the greatest need for cash.
· CARE (Peru): Uses a nanotechnology device and solar radiation to improve the quality of drinking water in lower Amazonian rural populations.
· IFMR (India): Tests the impact of scholarships on the academic success of low-income children attending high-quality pre-primary schools in rural India.
Stage two grants support testing for social impact, improved outcomes, and market viability, as well as building pathways to scale and sustainability. Portfolio organizations and their countries of implementation include:
· 1001 Fontaines (Cambodia): Supports expansion of water kiosks that use ultraviolet disinfection, solar energy, and available water sources to provide access to safe, affordable drinking water in rural areas.
· Better Cotton Initiative (Global): Supports over one million farmers to grow sustainable “Better Cotton,” while also improving environmental metrics, reducing water consumption, conserving natural habitats, and building farmer capacity.
· Development Media International (Burkina Faso): Tests whether a mass media family planning campaign increases contraceptive use among men and women of reproductive age living in rural areas.
· D-Rev (India, Kenya): Targets severe jaundice in newborns by testing marketing and distribution strategies to make affordable phototherapy available in communities with the highest need.
· Muso (Mali): Supports the expansion of evidence-based community health care delivery in urban areas.
· PowerMundo (Peru): Provides solar energy to rural, low-income communities through digital pay-as-you-go energy systems, a new approach to off-grid energy in Peru.
· Vision for a Nation (Rwanda): Supports a nationwide, government-led campaign to train nurses in the primary healthcare system to screen for visual impairment and to provide glasses to the visually impaired.