How can we find solutions to make it easier to access safe, clean water and sanitation services for the urban poor?

We seek digital technology-based solutions that promote access to essential resources and services (clean water, sanitation) and can make a difference in reducing morbidity and mortality to promote healthy, safe, and productive lives. We know that technology does not automatically or inevitably improve people's lives; creative solutions must be contextually grounded and designed in response to on-the-ground needs of women, children, and families living in challenging urban environments.
Learn More
CLOSEDNov 14, 2018Deadline
Up to $100,000Amount

Mandatory Requirements

StageStage 2: Research & Development and Stage 3: Proof of Concept
Implemented in:
RegionLow and Middle Income Countries
Focus AreasWater Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Technology
Urbanization (Housing and Infrastructure)

What We Are Looking For:

Ideal solutions may target individuals, families, communities, urban planners, service providers, or WASH/ food infrastructure, networks, and systems. Solutions may include but are not limited to: services, models, or tools intended to improve overall access to WASH services and that apply a deeper understanding of our users' (customers/providers) needs when designing programs, services, and products/interventions. We seek solutions that are interactive, contextual, scalable, and relevant to WASH systems strengthening. We are specifically interested in work targeting: clean drinking water, household sanitation and hygiene, and urban pollution.

Other Requirements

Target BeneficiariesPrioritize marginalized populations, considering specifically those marginalized by their physical/intellectual disability, economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, age, marital status, gender, caste, sexuality, profession, location, literacy or lack thereof, and access to media and communications
Potential for ScaleTo be considered, ideas must constitute transformative rather than incremental improvements in urban water and sanitation solutions andbe low cost. We define low cost as interventions targeted for populations with individuals living on less than $1 per day, deliverable, and scalable in low- and middle-income countries.
Impact Evaluation/M&E PlanProposals must (i) have a testable hypothesis, (ii) include an associated plan for how the idea would be tested or validated, and (iii) yield interpretable and unambiguous data in Phase I, in order to be considered for Phase II funding.

We will not consider funding for:

  • Ideas that are not directly relevant to low and middle-income countries
  • Projects that don't clearly consider the current context of available services/systems
  • Ideas that simply translate traditional approaches to an ICT platform (mobile, tablet, or web-based tools and aids)
  • Interventions that require our long-term financial support
  • Educational programs or campaigns without clearly articulated, measurable behavior outcomes or the ability to be taken to scale
  • Ideas for which proof of concept cannot be demonstrated within the scope of the Phase 1 award ($100k over 18 months)
  • Approaches that repeat conventional solutions without novel application
  • Basic research not directly linked to Urban WASH or measurable outcomes and focused purely on research tools for researchers and implementers
  • Ideas that do not address at least one of these specific areas: infrastructure interventions, education, campaigns, and models and tools to improve overall access to WASH needs that also apply a deeper understanding of our users' (customers/providers) needs when designing programs, services, and products/interventions
  • Approaches that present unacceptable ethical or safety risks
  • Projects earmarking foundation funds for lobbying activity (e.g., attempts to influence legislation or legislative action) or efforts to influence political campaigns for public office

Application Directions

African entrants located in African organizations should apply through theGrand Challenges Africa (a program of The AAS) portal;

Entrants located throughout the rest of the world should apply through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation portal, link here

Application And Awards Process

Please refer to Application Guidance attached.


Learn More