Nearly 129 million people across 33 countries are in need of humanitarian assistance. While the international community is helping more people than ever before, the humanitarian system is under unprecedented strain. Crises are increasing in frequency and magnitude, and in many countries, violence and insecurity continue to cause massive internal and cross-border displacement. As humanitarian needs continue to grow and evolve, there is an increasing need for innovative and new approaches that can be deployed to address emerging and future challenges. Yet, it is estimated that less than 1% of humanitarian aid is focused on innovation.
Why a Humanitarian Grand Challenge?
The U.S. Agency of International Development through the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) has parterned with Grand Challenges Canada, to design and implement a Humanitarian Grand Challenge, which will identify, support, and transition to scale innovations that enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian assistance. The Humanitarian Grand Challenge will bring global attention and resources to specific, well-defined international humanitarian problems and will provide a platform for leading donors, investors, and private sector partners to develop, support, and grow innovative approaches to solve them.
What happens next?
Addressing the most pressing challenges in preparing for and responding to humanitarian crisis is too great for one partner alone to solve. As a result, we are building a network of organizations that will each provide unique insight and expertise to bear on the Humanitarian Grand Challenge.
The Humanitarian Grand Challenge will focus on a single grand challenge to be announced in late 2017, and it will be seeking solutions from innovators with bold ideas. A competitive, open request for proposals to source innovations for seed and transition-to-scale funding will follow in early 2018.