Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge seeks life-saving or life-improving innovations to help the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict. These innovations will involve a connection to the private sector and input from affected communities in order to provide, supply, or locally generate safe drinking water and sanitation, energy, life-saving information, or health supplies and services to help conflict-affected people.

Why a Humanitarian Grand Challenge?

Grand challenges bring global attention and resources to specific, well-defined international problems and promote innovative approaches to solving them. Grand challenges are about more than sourcing new promising innovations – they are about scaling the solutions that are proven to work. Achieving this requires a holistic approach where we address critical barriers to market growth and expansion.

Key Focus Areas

Safe Water and Sanitation: We are looking for bold ideas, technologies, processes and approaches that enable rapid provision of safe water and safe disposal of waste and sewage in the most vulnerable households and/or enable implementers to rapidly scale up programs.

​Energy: We are looking for bold ideas to generate energy. We are particularly interested in alternative energy solutions that are possible to set up and maintain in conflict situations, and that power life-saving and life-improving services such as health, information, water and sanitation, and education.

Life-Saving Information: We are looking for bold ideas that use and improve access to information and data to increase the impact of humanitarian assistance at the local level as well as enable more effective connections between affected populations and humanitarian actors.

Health Products and Services: We are looking for bold ideas that enable non-experts to provide quality care; empower skilled staff who choose to work in conflict zones; allow faster or less costly importation and distribution of quality essential health supplies in conflict zones; and enable affected communities to manufacture necessary high quality and safe supplies, or sterilize and reuse them.

  • Seed Funding: The objective of seed funding is to test new ideas and approaches to humanitarian assistance, to determine whether or not they are effective. By the end of the funding period, projects that receive seed funding are expected to demonstrate evidence (e.g., proof of concept), in a controlled or limited setting, that there is greater assistance in the location, lower reliance on importations, and/or reduction of other significant barrier(s) to obtaining assistance as a result of the project, as well as that the innovation has the potential to be implemented at scale in other contexts.
    • Through this Request for Proposals, the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners will award seed funding of up to $250,000 CAD per project over a maximum of twenty-four (24) months.
    • The challenge expects to award up to 25 seed grants through this Request for Proposals. At the end of the seed funding stage, if having achieved proof of concept, innovations may be invited to apply to the Transition To Scale funding track.
  • Transition To Scale (TTS) Funding: Through this Request for Proposals, the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners will award Transition To Scale funding of up to $1,000,000 CAD per project over a maximum of twenty-four (24) months. The level of funding requested should be sufficient to assure completion of the goals in the stated time frame and must be fully justified.

People Affected By Conflict

  • The Humanitarian Grand Challenge is focused on helping people who are hardest-to reach as a result of conflict-generated humanitarian emergencies. While they do consider refugees and internally displaced persons to be relevant target populations, the priority is to serve those living in conflict zones. Contexts that they consider to be hard to reach conflict zones include, but are not limited to: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Northern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen.
  • The Challenge encourages innovations that focus on the needs of women and girls, and people who are socially marginalized because of their gender, sex, sexuality, religion, age or income, as well as people with disabilities, minorities and people who are stateless. They support innovations that strengthen local institutions, civil society organisations, and service suppliers.
  • There are no geographical restrictions, therefore legally formed organizations that are not the subject of a US, UK, Dutch, European Union, World Bank, Canadian, or United Nations Security Council sanctions are eligible to apply for funding.
  • Eligible applicants include social enterprises and other recognized institutions (e.g., non-profit organizations and for-profit companies) that are formed and legally incorporated, that can successfully execute the activities in their respective technical area, and that are capable of receiving and administering grant funding. Sole proprietorships are not eligible for funding. In past experience, they have found that multilateral organizations such as the UN are typically unable to agree to the terms and conditions of the funding agreements. They highly recommend that these organizations instead apply through a local eligible partner organization. Staff from the UN office could act as collaborators on the project.
  • A project can have only one Project Lead, who must be affiliated with the institution from which the proposal is being submitted.
  • A Project Lead may only be listed on one (1) application to this Request for Proposals. An institution may be the applicant on multiple applications, provided all applications have different Project Leads.
  • Applications must include all required information. Only complete applications will be considered by the Review Committee.
  • The Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners may, at any time and at their sole discretion, modify eligibility criteria with respect to individual applicants, Project Leads and/or eligible countries, to the extent that such modifications do not materially undermine the review process.
How to Apply

To apply for funding, applicants MUST use the online application form provided, which is ONLY accessible via the Grand Challenges Canada’s Fluxx Portal ( (See Section 4.2 Application Instructions)

For questions related to this Request for Proposals that are not addressed in the FAQ, contact

If you require technical assistance with registration or the online application, contact Grand Challenges Canada’s Fluxx Technical Support team at

More Information, Documents, and Application Guidelines