USAID and DFID Launch Humanitarian Grand Challenge

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Monday, February 19, 2018
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Today, the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Ambassador Mark Green, and the Secretary of State for the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, The Right Honourable Penny Mordaunt, launched the first-ever Humanitarian Grand Challenge at the Overseas Development Institute in London.   Led by USAID and DFID, and implemented through Grand Challenges Canada, "Creating Hope in Conflict:  A Humanitarian Grand Challenge" calls on innovators around the world to submit ideas to save and improve the lives of the most-vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people affected by humanitarian crises caused by conflict.  The partners will invest a combined $15 million over the next five years to support innovations that enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian assistance. The initial call for innovation seeks solutions that engage the private sector to provide, supply, or locally generate safe drinking water and sanitation, energy, life-saving information, or health supplies and services to help meet the needs of conflict-affected people.The Humanitarian Grand Challenge enables governments and the private sector to work together alongside affected communities to address the unprecedented magnitude of suffering around the world.  Through this Grand Challenge, we seek to respond more nimbly to complex emergencies, and empower vulnerable communities to take the steps needed to create better lives for themselves.For more information on Creating Hope in Conflict:  A Humanitarian Grand Challenge, and to apply, visit


USAID Grand Challenges 
Nearly 136 million people across 25 countries are in need of humanitarian assistance.  Less than one percent of humanitarian aid focuses on investing in innovations.  - The Humanitarian Grand Challenge represents a multi-governmental partnership co-led by USAID and DFID. Grand Challenges Canada is the implementing partner.

The Humanitarian Grand Challenge is expected to fund:

  • 10-15 seed projects with grants of up to $250,000; and
  • 2-4 transition-to-scale projects of up to $1,000,000 to support the refinement, testing, and implementation of solutions that have already achieved proof of concept.

This is the tenth Grand Challenge supported by USAID and its partners.  To date, USAID and its Grand Challenge partners have delivered grant funding and technical assistance, worth more than half-a-billion dollars, to more than 450 innovators in 70 countries.

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Ernest O'Neil's picture

USAID & DFID are to be applauded for this initiative as well as the previous nine supported by USAID and its partners..

More funds and efforts need to be provided. Yemen alone, for example, has over 80% of its population in need of humanitarian aid according to reports in recent months. The international community needs to band together beyond these two funding agencies. Heads of states across the globe must focus on the causes and damages of unwarranted wars such as that in Yemen where innocent children and adults have died and leaders seem to be complacent about the war and its effects. It has been reported that over three million children in Yemen were born into this seemingly 'forgotten war' and they have yet to live under peaceful circumstances since the outbreak in March 2015.

Here's hoping this Tenth Humanitarian Grand Challenge exceeds its goals, serving to stimulate even grander initiatives in response to the dire humanitarian needs of countries and communities around the world.

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