Across the globe, the United States prioritizes investments in development innovations that are low cost and have the power to improve millions of lives. USAID's Innovation Fund for the Americas (IFA) seeks cost-effective breakthrough solutions to development challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Although the region has experienced more than a decade of strong economic growth, declining poverty, and deepening democracy, development challenges persist. Deteriorating citizen security, poor educational outcomes, high levels of youth unemployment, and extreme vulnerability to natural disasters are just some of the difficult issues facing countries in the region.
Through IFA, USAID will seek to address these challenges by funding the best new ideas coming from NGOs, academia, and the private sector. IFA will provide funding at three stages, ranging from $100,000 to $15 million, to pilot, rigorously test, and bring to scale promising projects with the potential to significantly improve development outcomes.
The three-year initiative is part of USAID's Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), which supports innovative solutions such as:
- Using smart phones to reduce election fraud. With less than $100,000, researchers from the University of California-San Diego rigorously evaluated an election monitoring innovation in Afghanistan which notified candidates and polling officials that their vote counts would be photographed using digital cameras and smart phones, resulting in a 60% reduction in one type of election fraud.
- Providing electricity to rural India through renewable micro grids. With a $300,000 grant, startup company Mera Gao Micro Grid Power (MGP) will provide cleaner and more efficient light to households in rural India through solar-powered village-level micro grid lighting facilities.
How to Apply:
IFA encourages entrepreneurs, innovators, businesses, academics, NGOs, local partners, and others across the globe to submit proposals for cost-saving development solutions by visiting the Innovation Fund for the Americas website. Although projects addressing problems in any sector across Latin America and the Caribbean are eligible, IFA is especially interested in proposals that:
- Address energy, climate change, citizen safety, at-risk youth, education and democracy challenges; and
- Address challenges within the four pillars of the U.S. Haiti strategy (infrastructure and energy, food and economic security, health and other basic services, and governance and rule of law). For more information, see the DIV Haiti Initiative.
Last updated: April 24, 2012