USAID Awards $14.1 Million for Breakthrough Innovations to Fight Poverty

Development Innovation Ventures Program Sources New Ways to End Extreme Poverty

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) U.S. Global Development Lab today announced $14.1 million in new grants to 32 organizations from around the world. The awards are funded through the Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program, a year-round open competition that seeks breakthrough development solutions with the potential to change millions of lives at a fraction of the usual cost.

DIV works to source, test, and scale innovative development ideas that are evidence-based, cost-effective, and have the capability to deliver greater results. DIV's tiered-funding model, inspired by the venture capital experience, invests comparatively small amounts in relatively unproven concepts, and continues to support only those that prove they work.

"We believe that the next transformative idea in development can come from anyone, anywhere and DIV is sourcing new solutions from around the world, advancing only those that show evidence they work," said Ann Mei Chang, Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab. "We are excited to work with our awardees to build their evidence-base and help them grow their potential to impact millions of people globally, for a lower cost, at sustainable scale."

The new awardee organizations will implement their solutions in 17 different countries across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. More than half of the 32 awardee organizations are new to USAID. The following organizations have received Stage 1 or Stage 2 support to test and grow their ideas in a developing country.

Stage 1 grants support the testing of a solution in a developing country to gain an early, real-world assessment of the solution. Grantees and their countries of implementation include:

  • A'AS, Inc. - Brazil, India, South Africa: Testing the commercial viability of a portable molecular diagnostic device as a simple, low-cost alternative for field-based food and agricultural diagnostics or clinical applications in developing countries.
  • Agriworks Uganda - Uganda: Providing innovative irrigation products and solutions to small-scale farmers.
  • AMPATH: Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital - Kenya: Linking prize earnings with insurance products to incentivize health insurance adoption among low-income earners.
  • APOPO - Tanzania, Mozambique: Using trained African Giant Pouched Rats for rapid and cost-effective detection of Tuberculosis in prisons.
  • Burn Manufacturing Company - Kenya: Testing a clean, efficient, low-cost, fan-powered forced draft cookstove with a "pay-as-you-go" financing model.
  • Crosslinks Foundation - India: Using crowdfunding incentives to encourage low-income workers to enroll and contribute regularly to the Indian government's new pension program.
  • Curiositate - Bangladesh: Using cost efficient, locally produced, solar-powered aeration for shallow ponds to increase aquaculture yields.
  • EarthEnable - Rwanda: Providing healthy, affordable, compressed-earthen floors to those who can only afford dirt floors in their homes.
  • Essmart - India: Creating transparent, competitive, and economically-incentivized marketplaces to sell life-improving, essential technologies - such as solar lights, water filters, and improved agricultural tools.
  • Good Works Studio: Providing durable, clean, and affordable flooring to refugee shelters.
  • Grillo - Mexico: Developing an affordable and rapidly deployable Earthquake Early Warning system.
  • Keheala - Kenya: Delivering community-based behavioral interventions and disease management tools across a mobile platform in order to increase TB drug adherence.
  • LaborVoices - Bangladesh: Providing factory owners, brands, and workers with continuous, real-time visibility into conditions inside factories using a cost-effective, mobile platform for continuously polling workers on their safety and working conditions.
  • mDoc LLC - Bangladesh: Providing rural pharmacists with a custom tablet application that collects data about patients and facilitates telemedicine consultations with urban doctors, culminating in a printed prescription and medicines.
  • MiracleFeet - Philippines, Nicaragua, Liberia: Designing a low-cost, practical, comfortable brace for children born with clubfoot in low-resource settings.
  • SafeBoda - Uganda: Ensuring safe and secure motorcycle-taxi experiences by providing rigorous training and safety equipment to drivers who are accessible via mobile technology.
  • Trek Medics International - Dominican Republic: Scaling an text message-based emergency medical dispatching software for communities where advanced "911" technologies aren't affordable or available.
  • Ubongo LTD - Tanzania: Piloting community based video-learning clubs for children in non-electrified areas.
  • University of Notre Dame - Kenya: Identifying fake medicines with a paper test card.
  • University of Washington - Bangladesh: Empowering farmers with knowledge-based flood inundation forecasts on affordable mobile platforms.
  • Vayu, LLC - Kenya: Testing the use of UAVs to deliver urgent medical supplies to the last mile, reducing both cost and time.

Stage 2 grants support testing for social impact, improved outcomes, and market viability, as well as building paths to sustainability and scale. Grantees include:

  • Eco-Fuel Africa - Uganda: Empowering local communities in Uganda to use tailor-made technology to convert locally sourced farm and municipal waste into clean cooking fuel and organic fertilizers. Eco-Fuel Africa received a DIV Stage 1 award in 2013.
  • EFL Global LTD - Global: Utilizing psychometric questionnaires and other alternative data as low-cost, automated screening tools to provide alternative credit scores to individuals excluded from the formal financial sector. DIV Stage 1 award in 2012.
  • Foundation Escalera, Inc. - Mexico: Program for rural middle school students that provides video interviews with local role models, motivational exercises, and the information necessary to help make decisions about their futures and increase high school enrollment.
  • Good World Solutions - Bangladesh, India: Laborlink™ leverages mobile technology to connect base-of-pyramid workers with managers, translating their voices into actionable analytics to enable socially responsible supply chains. Good World Solutions received a DIV Stage 1 award in 2013.
  •  Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) - Zambia: Measuring the impact on health outcomes of career versus social incentives on community health worker performance. IPA received a DIV Stage 1 award in 2012.
  • Johns Hopkins University - Bangladesh: Providing a hospital based WASH intervention (CHoBI7) for hospitalized diarrheal patients and their families which was shown in a recent randomized controlled trial to significantly reduce cholera and lead to sustained hand washing with soap practices and improved water quality over time.
  • Junco Labs - Rwanda: Launching a low-cost, smartphone-based blood test for rapid disease identification.
  • Pixatel Systems - India: Rigorously testing an adaptive tablet-based learning platform to improve math skills among primary school students. Pixatel Systems received a DIV Stage 1 award in 2013.
  •  Project Concern International (PCI) - Ethiopia, Tanzania: Utilizing the accuracy of satellite imagery along with traditional knowledge to assist pastoralists in more precisely locating grazing areas. PCI received a DIV Stage 1 award in 2013.
  • Swasth Foundation - India: Creating self-sustaining and scalable "One Stop Shop" healthcare centers for delivering high-quality, affordable services to the urban poor.
Visit to learn more about DIV grants and to apply.