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4HerPower Challenge: Innovating for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

How can young people improve the quality of and access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information, commodities, and services?

Submissions are Closed

FAQ

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How does the Challenge define key terminology such as “young people”, “SRHR” and “UNFPA programme countries”?

Who can apply to the Challenge?

What types of solutions are eligible?

How are we CrowdSolving the Challenge?

How will my solution be evaluated?

What is the Challenge timeline?

What will I receive if my solution is selected?

Will the intellectual property rights of applicants, as it pertains to their solution submissions, be protected by MIT Solve?


How does the Challenge define key terminology such as “young people”, “SRHR” and “UNFPA programme countries”?

This Challenge seeks solutions that will help provide young people with the tools and conditions needed to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people across UNFPA programme countries. When we refer to young people we are considering individuals within the range of 18-35 years of age. This challenge strongly encourages applications that are led by and primarily serve adolescent girls and young women in all their diversity. 

When we refer to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) we are grounded in UNFPA’s inclusive and rights based definition. 

When we refer to UNFPA programme countries we are specifically referring to the countries and territories where UNFPA has established its programmes. This encompasses a wide range of countries and territories across six regions: 

  • Latin America and the Caribbean, West and Central Africa, East and Southern Africa, Arab States, Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Asia and the Pacific. 

  • For a comprehensive list and further details, please refer to the UNFPA Worldwide page.

Who can apply to the Challenge?

We invite submissions from individuals, teams, and/or organizations. 

  • Solutions can be for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid models and must be at least at the prototype stage. 

  • Solutions must be led by and serving young people between the ages of 18-35 to be eligible for this challenge. 

  • Individuals and teams must be living and working in UNFPA programme countries and demonstrate proximity* to the community served by their solution. 

  • Solutions that are affiliated with a registered organization must be registered in and implementing the solution within at least one of UNFPA’s programme countries

  • Solutions that are led by adolescent girls and young women in all their diversity are strongly encouraged and will be prioritized. If you have a relevant solution addressing at least one of the dimensions of this Challenge, we hope you’ll apply!

*Demonstrating proximity to the community served may, for example, mean that the team lead and team members originate from and are living in the community they are serving.

What types of solutions are eligible?

Solution applications must be written in English. The Challenge considers solutions at various stages of development.

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model.

Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community or population.

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth in multiple communities or populations. 

Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or populations that is looking to scale significantly, focusing on increased efficiency.

Through open innovation, the Challenge is looking for a diverse portfolio of solutions led by young people across UNFPA’s programme countries, development stages, and team members’ demographics. We encourage people of all backgrounds to submit applications. 

How are we CrowdSolving the Challenge?

Sourcing Solutions: Anyone who meets the criteria above can participate in this challenge and submit a solution. Whether you’re working on a prototype or scaling your program or product, we’re looking for innovators and entrepreneurs with the most promising solutions to improve young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Selecting Solutions: Once the submission deadline passes, judging begins. After an initial screening and review by Solve staff and community reviewers, 20 solutions will move forward as finalists. These finalists will be invited to pitch their solutions at a virtual pitch event, where judges will then select the winners.

How will my solution be evaluated?

The judging panel for this Challenge will be composed of leaders and experts with experience advocating for young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights across many sectors and throughout the world. After an initial screening by Solve staff and community reviewers, the judges will score the screened solutions based on the following criteria. All criteria will be given equal weight:

  • Alignment: The solution addresses at least one of the key dimensions of the Challenge.

  • Potential for Impact: The planned solution implementation has the potential to positively impact the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.

  • Feasibility: The team has a realistic and practical plan for implementing the solution, and it is feasible in the given context.

  • Innovative Approach: The solution includes a new technology, a new application of technology, a new business model, or a new process for solving the challenge.

  • Inclusive Human-Centered Design: The solution is designed with and for underserved communities. The solution team demonstrates proximity to the community and both embodies and addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the design, implementation and internal operations of the solution. Within this criteria, solutions with women-centric design will be prioritized. 

  • Scalability: The solution can be scaled to affect the lives of more people within its target population.

What is the Challenge timeline?

  • Challenge Closes for Submission: October 27, 2023 

  • Review & Selection: November 1 - December 13, 2023 

    • Finalist Selection: by November 17, 2023 

    • Winner Selection: mid December, 2023

  • Winner Support Program: January - June 2024 

*While we aim to follow the schedule above, the following dates are subject to change. All applicants will be notified if changes occur. 

What will I receive if my solution is selected?

Finalists will be invited to a virtual pitch event to present their solutions in front of distinguished judges. A total pool of $140,000 in funding is available for up to 14 winners of the 4HerPower Challenge. Winners will be eligible for a maximum amount of up to $14,000.

In addition to funding, each Challenge winner will participate in a 6-month support program run by MIT Solve in collaboration with UNFPA and Organon that will include:

  • In-kind resources curated to support entrepreneurs across critical areas including pro bono legal support, software licenses, and marketing

  • Virtual orientation session

  • Virtual monthly cohort convenings during the support program period

  • Virtual check-in meetings between Solve staff with each winner 

  • Professional executive leadership coaching for winners

  • Virtual capacity building workshops hosted by experts focused on potential topics such as Participatory Design, Theory of Change, Impact Metrics, or other themes

  • Invitation for Challenge winners to attend Solve at MIT 2024

  • Connections to expertise from global networks

Will the intellectual property rights of applicants, as it pertains to their solution submissions, be protected by MIT Solve? 

All intellectual property rights of the applicant(s) are kept with the applicant(s) throughout their entire time working with MIT Solve. By submitting a solution to one of our Challenges, you still keep your intellectual property rights. All applications to MIT Solve’s Challenges and the Solv[ED] Youth Innovation Challenge are subject to the Creative Commons. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license, per Solve’s Terms of Service. This means that anything shared in the public sections of your application allows anyone else to use or build on that work as long as they give appropriate credit, do not use the material for commercial purposes, and distribute contributions under the same license as the original work. See more details on the CC BY NC SA license here. You do not have to share sensitive or confidential details about your solution in your application.

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