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iHub By Jessica Colaço / March 6, 2012

Gates Grand Challenges Explorations


Many people in the developed world are aid weary. They know billions of dollars go into aid, and yet the problems never seem to go away. This leads them to question if the money ever gets to where it is needed, and even then, if it is used wisely. The media seems full of stories of corruption, waste and broken systems.

But that’s not the whole story. Effective aid programs help developing countries become self-sufficient. They do not replace those countries’ efforts, but rather support the important work that’s already under way.

While not all aid projects deliver the kind of returns we hope for, very many do—and it’s critical to keep the support for those projects flowing.

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) has announced a call for proposals in communications.  They’ll be funding up to 10 game-changing ideas to help with one of the most significant challenges at the foundation: changing the conversation around foreign aid.

Here’s how it works
  • We are looking for revolutionary ways to gather and stories of foreign aid working well, and to engage communities around the world in this issue.
  • Anyone with a great idea is encouraged to apply. The submission process is simple, requiring just a two-page proposal. Instructions can be found here:
  • The call will close on May 15, 2012. Up to 10 Phase I grants of $100,000 USD will be awarded within just a few months.
  • The Cannes Lions Chimera, a special panel made up of the best talent across advertising, media, and technology, are advising the program, and will mentor the winners as they develop their projects. More information on the Chimera can be found here:
  • Each of the Phase I grant-recipients will have one opportunity to apply for a follow-on Phase II grant of up to $1,000,000 USD.
We believe that the creative & tech communities can play a pivotal role in helping communities around the world lift themselves out of poverty.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at

Author : Jessica Colaço

Jessica Colaço is currently the Director of Partnerships at iHub. She was the Founding Manager between 2010 and 2011 at iHub and Research Director between 2011 and 2013 at iHub Research. She is passionate about Innovation, Research, Mobile and Robotics Technology, Mentorship and Entrepreneurship in Kenya as she uses her position at iHub to court local, regional and international stakeholders to adopt Kenyan-made and African-made solutions. As an upcoming angel investor, she courts local and international investors to invest in great tech ideas and companies at idea and concept stage. She is also a Mobile and Robotics Tech Evangelist, Co-Founder of WMIAfrica and AkiraChix, ISOC-Kenya Chapter, Treasurer, ACM-W Nairobi Chapter Chair, TED Global Fellow 2009 and upcoming Guitarist. She was named one of the top 40 women under 40 years in Kenya's business scene by Business Daily on 2009, 2011 and 2012. Her endeavour is to put Kenya and Africa on the map for technology achievements and spur innovation within the country and continent! She blogs at:

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