Disaster Technology: U.S. and U.K. to Fund Humanitarian Innovation

For Immediate Release

Thursday, February 21, 2013
USAID Press Office
202-712-4320

WASHINGTON, D.C. -  Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Government of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), announced the establishment of the USAID/DFID Humanitarian Innovation Initiative to invest in cost-effective innovations to humanitarian challenges.

The initiative will function as part of USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program, an open competition supporting breakthrough solutions to the world's most difficult humanitarian and development challenges. It operates in close collaboration with the USAID Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance and the UK will contribute up to $2.6 million GBP to fund the DFID/USAID Humanitarian Innovation Initiative.

“Across development, we are seeing the impact of innovations in GPS mapping, SMS early warning systems, and a whole range of new tools that are helping to protect and empower populations. By bringing new problem-solvers together to generate cutting-edge solutions, we can help strengthen the resilience of communities to disasters and care for the least vulnerable among us,” stated USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah.

The Initiative will support winners of the DIV competition—including technology, business models, policy practices, and more—that have on-the-ground evidence of their capacity to support humanitarian response and disaster preparedness around the world. These might include programs that specifically relate to:

  • Reduction of mortality and morbidity and strengthening emergency health initiatives;
  • Protection of vulnerable populations;
  • Prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition;
  • Provision of safe shelter and settlements;
  • Support to communities to recover livelihoods;
  • Enhanced use of data, and monitoring of program performance and impacts; or
  • Improved disaster risk reduction in low-income, high-risk countries.

Projects offering strong evidence of successful pilot implementation may apply for grants of up to $1 million.  The fund will invest up to $15 million in projects that have already been successfully tested at significant scale. Select winners will also be eligible for tailored assistance from the Skoll Center for Entrepreneurship, at the Said Business School, Oxford University.

Entrepreneurs, businesses, non-governmental organizations, academics, local partners, and others are encouraged to submit proposals. Applications and information for applicants are available at the Development Innovation Ventures website:  www.usaid.gov/div/humanitarian-initiative.

Applications to the Humanitarian Innovation Initiative must be received by April 12, 2013. For further details, see www.usaid.gov/div.

Last updated: April 16, 2014

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