Call for Ideas on Development Aid

The  first-ever Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) call for proposals in communications, launched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will be funding up to 10 “game-changing” ideas to help solve one of the greatest challenges  faced in the development community: changing the conversation around development aid.

The goal of this challenge is to solicit new approaches to communications that motivate the public in the wealthy countries of the world to change their minds about aid, and take actions to demonstrate their support. The development community has traditionally focused on the “why” of aid. But most people already believe it is the right thing to do.  We must do a better job of explaining the “how” and the “what” (How exactly does aid work? Where does the money go? How is it used? What impact does it have on communities?).

The challenge wants to find revolutionary ways to make these issues matter deeply to the global community,  inspired by projects that allow anyone– no matter where they live or what their background– to take part. In the Foundation’s words, “we encourage projects that embrace the complexity of these issues. We admire work that surprises us with its emotional power, and that comes at the problem from entirely new angles.”

You can find the call here:

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.

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