Seed funding is available for high-impact innovations that address urgent global health challenges in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) and Canada. Round 11 funding is for bold ideas to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women, adolescents, children and LGBTQI+ people in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) is dedicated to supporting ‘bold ideas with big impact’ and funds innovators in low and middle-income countries and Canada.
The Stars in Global Health Funding initiative is delivered by GCC to address urgent global health challenges in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) and Canada. It provides funding to explore transformative ideas at proof of concept that apply ‘Integrated Innovation’ in order to sustainably bring solutions to scale in areas of strategic interest for GCC and its funders. The ‘Integrated Innovation’ approach coordinates scientific/technological, social and/or business innovation to develop solutions to complex challenges.
The initiative serves as an opportunity to test new strategies in order to improve the inclusivity and representation of innovations across the organisation. It is also a flexible and responsive platform that allows adaptability at each round of funding to meet the most salient development needs, such as improving access to sexual and reproductive health information, services and supplies, while mitigating the impact of pandemic control measures, for women, adolescents, children and LGBTQI+ people.
GCC recognises that sexual and reproductive health and rights are fundamental to gender equality and the empowerment of women, adolescents, children and LGBTQI+ people. Although substantive progress has been made in addressing certain components of sexual and reproductive health and rights, these advances have been inequitable across and within countries. An additional concern is that there is insufficient access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services in many settings. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated the challenges in terms of the deprioritisation of sexual and reproductive health and rights education and services.
There is a need to develop, test and scale up resilient innovations to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic on sexual and reproductive health and rights during this and future pandemics. This Round 11 Stars in Global Health request for proposals will enable GCC to mobilise crucial resources and work to address this critical need.
GCC seeks bold ideas that will improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women, adolescents, children and LGBTQI+ people in Sub-Saharan Africa. The bold ideas are expected to improve the access, use and quality of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education and services and to be resilient to pandemic control measures like those introduced to control COVID-19. Of particular interest to GCC is innovations that improve responses to sexual and gender-based violence.
Proposed innovations must be designed with and for people who are not adequately served by current approaches to sexual and reproductive health and rights. All innovations must demonstrate a rights-based approach, the principle of ‘do no harm’ and must be gender-affirming/sensitive and inclusive. Innovations must also have the potential to be sustainable at scale and all proposals must demonstrate their relevance in the context of current and potential pandemic responses.
Innovations should lead to at least one of the following priority outcomes:
Increase met need for comprehensive contraception care and education.
Decrease rates of sexual and gender-based violence.
Decrease in the impact of sexual and gender-based violence.
Decrease in the incidence of female genital mutilation.
Decrease in the incidence of child, early and forced marriage.
Innovations can take any form eg technologies, products, services, processes, business models, policy approaches and/or delivery mechanisms. By the end of the seed award, innovators that have demonstrated proof of concept of the idea, developed preliminary and feasibility plans for scale and sustainability, and attracted commitments from key stakeholders and partners may be eligible for further funding.
Applications are particularly encouraged from organisations based in Western and Central Africa, and organisations led by women or non-binary individuals.