Creating Hope in Conflict: A Grand Challenge for Development

A man walks down a street that shows heavy damage after the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Creating Hope in Conflict: A Grand Challenge for Development. Kashish Das Shrestha for USAID


Today, more than 136 million people around the world live in areas experiencing humanitarian crises. Millions of these people are unreachable by traditional humanitarian aid delivery due to armed conflict. As the length, frequency, and scope of the world’s conflicts increase, it is becoming more difficult to reach affected people in insecure areas with life-saving and life-improving humanitarian assistance. We need new solutions that respond to the needs of vulnerable, inaccessible communities – yet, less than one percent of humanitarian aid is focused on investing in the innovations necessary to reach them.



The U.S. Agency for International Development, the UK Department for International Development, and Grand Challenges Canada are partnering on Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge. Through this Grand Challenge, we will identify and support groundbreaking solutions that engage the private sector and draw from the experiences of affected communities in order to significantly improve - and in many cases, save - the lives of vulnerable people affected by conflict.


SAFE WATER AND SANITATION: We are looking for bold ideas, technologies, processes and approaches that enable rapid provision of safe water and safe disposal of waste and sewage in the most vulnerable households and/or enable implementers to rapidly scale up programs.

ENERGY: We are looking for bold ideas to generate energy. We are particularly interested in alternative energy solutions that are possible to set up and maintain in conflict situations, and that power life-saving and life-improving services such as health, information, water and sanitation, and education.

LIFE-SAVING INFORMATION: We are looking for bold ideas that use and improve access to information and data to increase the impact of humanitarian assistance at the local level as well as enable more effective connections between affected populations and humanitarian actors.

HEALTH PRODUCTS AND SERVICES: We are looking for bold ideas that enable more individuals to provide quality care; empower skilled staff who choose to work in conflict zones; allow faster or less costly importation and distribution of quality essential health supplies in conflict zones; and enable affected communities to manufacture necessary high quality and safe supplies, or sterilize and reuse them.

A family awaits humanitarian assistance
Photo: Turjoy Chowdhury for USAID


We seek innovations that focus on people who are particularly vulnerable in conflict-affected humanitarian crisis. This includes people who are vulnerable due to their gender, sexuality, religion, age, or income; people with disabilities, chronic health conditions, people who are stateless, minorities, or people who are unable to evacuate.


Through this first call for innovations, we seek life-saving or life-improving innovations to help the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict. These innovations will engage the private sector and involve input from affected communities in order to provide, supply, or locally generate clean water and sanitation, energy, life-saving information, or health supplies and services to help conflict-affected people. The deadline for application submissions is April 12, 2018.

Additional application and timeline details available at:

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Last updated: February 19, 2018

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