USAID Catalyst Awards: Digital Development Award

Digital Development Award

Like railways and roads before it, the ongoing digital revolution is unleashing waves of innovation and transforming the way in which businesses, consumers, and governments operate and interact with each other. This new-found access to information and services is empowering individuals, opening new channels for delivering more effective and scalable services from governments and the private sector, spurring greater participation in the formal economy, and enabling a more adaptive, data-driven approach to decision making.

USAID has a long and rich tradition of transforming development through innovation. In an effort to celebrate USAID Missions, Bureaus and partners that are embracing cutting-edge technologies and novel approaches to data analysis to accelerate impact, USAID’s Global Development Lab is sponsoring the Catalyst Awards - featuring the Digital Development Award (the Digis). The Digis will recognize USAID projects and activities that embrace best practices in the application and utilization of digital technologies and data-driven approaches to achieve their development objectives.

What are we looking for in an application?

The Digital Development Award (the Digis) will recognize recent or current USAID-funded activities across the following categories:


  • Integrated digital technologies or services into a USAID activity that contributed in a measurable way toward achieving the development objective(s)


  • Used up-to-date information or data to enable adaptive or iterative decision-making that led to improved development outcomes


  • Applied advanced data and geographic analysis that led to improved strategic planning, design, monitoring, and/or evaluation of USAID's programs


  • Promoted policy reform, market facilitation, or public good investment that supported greater access to and usage of digital services and data


All USAID and implementing partner staff working on a USAID-funded project, activity or program are eligible to apply on behalf of the activity, regardless of the size, region, or portfolio of the activity. To be eligible, applicants must clearly demonstrate that the activity applies digital technologies and/or data-driven approaches in its programing to more efficiently and effectively achieve development objectives.

How to apply

Click here to submit your application -- A list of all questions required in the application is available for viewing at the bottom of this page. The application deadline is May 31, 2017.

Submission Criteria and Evaluation

The Digis will be awarded to USAID-funded projects and activities, including USAID and implementing partner staff. An individual from USAID or any USAID partner organization that is implementing a USAID-funded project can submit an application on behalf of the project. Implementing partners submitting an application should consult with their appropriate USAID point of contact. A panel from the U.S. Global Development Lab’s Center for Digital Development will judge applications and select the winning teams. Whether a Digi will be awarded is decided and in the sole discretion of the U.S. Global Development Lab.

Evaluation Criteria

All applications will be assessed through the lens of the Principles for Digital Development - guidelines developed by the international donor community to help development practitioners integrate established best practices into technology-enabled programs.

Evaluation of applications will also consider the following criteria:

  • Integration

    • Cost-benefit and sustainability of the digital technology or service

    • Impact on meeting/improving the development objectives of the activity

    • Novel or innovative use of digital technology or service

  • Adaptation

    • Extent to which digital technology enabled up-to-date information/data collection

    • Extent to which information/data was used to adapt/ iterate to improve activity outcomes

  • Analysis

    • Extent to which the approach made use of advanced data and geographic analysis

    • Extent to which the approach improved strategic planning, design, monitoring, and/or evaluation

  • Facilitation

    • Extent to which the approach supported greater access and usage of digital services and data

    • Impact on supporting usage of digital services and data within USAID programs

Recognition of Winners

Winners will receive Agency recognition and public visibility for their groundbreaking work. This could include the following:

  • A Certificate of Appreciation

  • An invitation to deliver a presentation at a USAID event

  • Profile in Digital Development at USAID publication (Digis only)

  • Short video profile of the project/winner

  • Blog post featuring the winners’ work in Agency publications


Complete list of Application Questions

  • First Name

  • Last Name

  • Email address

  • Name of your company/organization

  • Job Title

  • Where is your primary office location?

  • Project/Activity Title


  • Country and/or region project is operating in?

  • What was the specific development problem that your approach/technology deployment helped to address? (400 words or less)

  • Describe the approach/technology that was undertaken/deployed and explain why it was chosen. (400 words or less)

  • Who is/was the target audience/end user of this approach/technology deployment? (250 words or less)

  • What are/were the expected outcomes of the use of this approach/technology deployment? 

  • To what extent have these expected outcomes been achieved? And how were these outcomes assessed and documented? (250 words or less)

  • How did your approach/technology deployment maximize the strengths of different partners to achieve success? What were the roles of each partner in the process? (400 words or less)

  • How does your approach/technology implementation align with the Principles for Digital Development? (400 words or less)

  • Include any links to publications or videos documenting the project/activity

  • How did you hear about the Digi Awards?

Last updated: May 15, 2017

Share This Page