A couple of months back, you may have seen some publicity for an exciting new grant program launched by USAID, the Gates Foundation, Norway, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Bank called “Saving Lives at Birth” – a Grand Challenges program to find and scale-up innovative solutions to reducing both child and maternal mortality in low income countries.
Stop for one minute and think about it: if you could do something tomorrow, what would you do to save the lives the millions of children and women who die during childbirth?
Well if you can’t decide yourself, you can share your views on what others think might work. There were over 600 applications to this program and from the initial list of applications, 77 projects have made it to the final round. Some of the projects have been submitted for smaller proof of concept grants while others have been submitted for larger integrated solutions that can be brought to scale and evaluated for impact. The organizers are asking for your opinion – which of these programs would you support? Next week in DC there will be a Development Expo where the finalists will be displaying their ideas. Projects with the most votes are eligible to win a people’s choice award.
Full disclosure: while I wanted to help get word out about this program, I also wanted to let you know about some of the work I’ve been doing the past few months. I am part of a team that was selected among the finalists for this program. Working with an amazing health microfinance organization in Kenya – called Changamka – and some economists from Georgetown, we are proposing the development of an e-voucher that can be deployed by mobile phones in rural areas of Kenya that will subsidize the costs of maternity services. In addition, we are also proposing a series of informational interventions, which we believe can be cost-effective means of increasing demand. Most innovatively, we are also proposing the development of a crowd-sourced application that allows users to share information on the quality of health services received. And we have developed a plan to rigorously evaluate it to see what really works and why. If you like our ideas, I can promise you a free subscription to my blog for life. 🙂 Go vote – and vote often!Share on Facebook