The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is inviting expression of interest from NGOs and companies to co-create, co-design, co-invest and collaborate on research and development interventions to address issues related water and energy under the Water and Energy for Food (WE4F): A Grand Challenge for Development Regional Innovation Hubs.
WE4F challenge fund is a partnership between the USAID, Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (hereafter the partners).
Through WE4F, the partners want to expand the scale of innovations that impact the sectors food and water, food and energy or all three sectors of the nexus (food, water, energy) to increase the sustainability of agricultural food value chains, improving energy and water efficiency as well as to improve climate-resilient agriculture in developing countries and emerging markets in accordance with the SDGs, with a particular focus on the poor and women.
To achieve this goal, the effort must include partners from the private sector, NGOs, other research institutions, and other donors who share the common goal of increasing food production through sustainable water and energy usage.
A key consideration of this effort is to ensure that feedback loops are created that integrate local conditions and new knowledge into both national and international policy and decision-making as well as to integrate capacity development, knowledge management and financial and non-financial instruments in a smart way to create an enabling environment in the partner countries.
USAID and its partners under WE4F seek to work with an organization or multiple organizations to manage WE4F Regional Innovations Hubs. Regional Innovations Hubs will “translate” WE4F conceptual frame and guidelines to region / locally specific calls and support mechanisms.
The Regional Innovation Hubs provide both financial and non-financial support in the form of a financial brokering and technical assistance unit. Furthermore, the Regional Innovation Hubs will also identify potential new innovators and offer relevant support to both new and old innovators throughout and after the regional call process.
Funding Information: Award Ceiling: $15,000,000
Target Groups of the WE4F Challenge Fund
The program will work with the following final and intermediate target groups. For the purpose of this program the final target group is defined as smallholder in the agricultural sector, poor mean and women as well as youth. To reach and contribute to this target group, WE4F works with entrepreneurship and innovation through an intermediate target group, which is defined as:
- Innovators with large potential for sustainable scaling that have previously received support and proved successful in the introduction phase from either the Grand Challenge Fund Securing Water for Food or Powering Agriculture.
- For-profits and non-profits organisations as well as organisations in academia with a for-profit arm that are working in the nexus of water-energy-food (new innovators). These organisations can apply through advertised regional calls.
- Other actors that are identified by the regional innovation hub and fit the criteria of WE4F and are crucial for the scaling of impacts.
Priority will be given to innovators from the Global South, female and young innovators, innovators working in the food and water, food and energy or all three sectors of the nexus (food, water, energy) as well as innovations that specifically target women, youth and the poor as end-users and therefore attempt to improve the access of these groups to water and/or energy for the production of food, mitigation of environmental shocks such as droughts, etc. Furthermore, innovations targeting fragile states, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and coastal areas are also particularly encouraged to apply.
The program will support innovations targeting both rural and urban food production in all countries and territories on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)/Development Assistance Committee list of Official Development Assistance recipients including fragile states, coastal areas and SIDS. In the beginning, WE4F will concentrate its activities on Africa, Asia and the MENA region. The expansion of the geographical coverage to more regions can, however, occur in the future, if this is deemed relevant by the supporting donors.
USAID and its partners under WE4F seek to work with an organization or multiple organizations to manage WE4F Regional Innovations Hubs. To ensure the best possible prospects of success in efforts to reach scale, embedding the WE4F program in the local specific cultural, societal and political context is absolutely vital.
Regional Innovations Hubs will “translate” WE4F conceptual frame and guidelines to region / locally specific calls and support mechanisms. The Regional Innovation Hubs provide both financial and non-financial support in the form of a financial brokering and technical assistance unit.
Furthermore, the Regional Innovation Hubs will also identify potential new innovators and offer relevant support to both new and old innovators throughout and after the regional call process.
At the same time, the Regional Innovation Hubs will facilitate advocacy work and encourage debates around the enabling environment for producers and end-users by highlighting important issues that hinder innovations or the scaling of innovations of the supported innovators (e.g. missing regulations).
For this purpose, they establish a report with local representatives of WE4F partners. In addition, they will link up with other bi- or multilateral donor programs to integrate innovations – where possible – into these programs.
To set up one or several of the Regional Innovation Hubs, the respective managing entity takes on the administrative and technical tasks related to the implementation of the Regional Innovation Hub in the region.
Its responsibilities, amongst others, are the identification of innovators, dealing with innovation grants and maintaining proper financial systems, accompanying payment processes, implementing audits, monitoring functions as well as investigating and reporting on irregularities.
The managing entity of the respective Regional Innovation Hub will execute its duties in close cooperation with its assigned unit of the Secretariat of the WE4F challenge fund and receives strategic guidance from the Steering Committee (subsidiarity principle).
In addition, the managing entity of each Regional Innovation Hub will have the responsibility of the management of these funds from USAID and its partners in the region.
For more information, visit: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=322621