Through our programmes, we are testing whether innovation in a broad sense, be it technology or creative ideas that improve public service delivery, can meet the world’s greatest development challenges.
We also embrace innovation in the way we work, by trialling new approaches to deliver better data and greater projects’ outcomes.
Innovation prizes for development
The DFID-funded Ideas to Impact programme runs five innovation prizes to stimulate solutions to challenges in climate change, water and sanitation, and energy access.
Prize competition for better sanitation in Ghana
The Sanitation Challenge for Ghana encourages local government municipalities to develop and deliver innovative urban sanitation plans. The prize has selected 17 local governments to implement the strategies they have proposed. These include land acquisition for liquid waste disposal and treatment, household toilets construction, and community mobilisation to reduce open defecation rates. Approximately three-quarters of Ghanaians lack access to adequate sanitary services, and almost 1,000 children under five die annually from poor water and sanitation.
The Sanitation Challenge for Ghana is expected to benefit over 1 million people by 2019.
SAFE WATER FOR 4,000 TANZANIANS
Within the Frontier Technology Livestreaming (FTL) programme, we have been helping DFID to identify, fund and disseminate technologies such as solar batteries in Zimbabwe and 3D printing in Nepal to tackle development challenges.
In rural Tanzania, over 50% of people do not have access to clean water due to lack of investment in infrastructure maintenance. One project selected by FTL, eWATER, has installed 24 taps in two rural villages with the programme’s £100,000 funding and strategic advice.
All villagers have an eWATER tag that they top up with mobile money or cash that is deducted when the tag is presented at a water tap.
Contactless payment makes cash unnecessary, which ensures transparent collection of fees. Moreover, a software application monitors live usage data and status of the eWATER taps, which allows district engineers to perform timely maintenance.
After only two and a half months, over 4,000 people are able to access 10 litres of clean water each per day. One hundred percent of the sales revenue has been collected, so at least three times more money can be spent on maintenance than before.
We have been approached by many other parties interested in having eWATER taps installed in other districts in Tanzania such as Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Iringa, and further afield in Haiti, Nigeria and Kenya.
In 2017, Frontier Technology Livestreaming received the UK Civil Service Award for Innovation.
EVALUATION OF DFID ETHIOPIA’S END CHILD MARRIAGE EFFORTS
In the Ahmara region of Ethiopia, we have assessed the impact of the DFID-funded End Child Marriage Programme, which has saved over 34,000 girls from this practice.
While young people are often consulted or work as peer researchers in programmes, they are generally not involved in analysis and decision-making around other youth’s rights and needs. The inclusion of local young evaluators in our team helped us to better understand the child marriage reality on the ground and its drivers and obtain good quality information during interviews with local children.