Water scarcity is a pressing development challenge. Through a Sida supported programme, Margarita Losse and the other villagers in Nhamburo, Mozambique have gained access to an irrigation system that enables them to grow tomatoes and other crops.
New call for proposals: Securing Water for Food searching for innovations
Water scarcity is one of the most pressing development challenges of today. Securing Water for Food has now opened a new call for proposals, searching for innovative solutions to development issues related to water scarcity in agriculture.
An estimated 2.8 billion people live in areas with severe shortage of water. Scarce water resources primarily affect people living in poverty whose livelihood is dependent on agriculture. Securing Water for Food is an initiative to develop innovations that allow the cultivation of crops with less water or which makes better use of different water sources.
Through game-changing solutions to water issues, food production in developing countries can increase and people's living conditions improve.
This global challenge fund is financed by aid funds from Sweden, through Sida, the United States and the Netherlands. Entrepreneurs, researchers, businesses, organizations and individuals compete for capital from the fund to realize their innovative ideas.
"Sida wants the fund to boost innovative solutions that have the potential to greatly impact people living on scarce resources. We believe that global competition will bring us the best solutions. The innovations may be technical products as well as innovative business models or working methods", Carol Bäckman, Program Director at Sida, explains.
The applicants that get selected will be rewarded between 100,000 and 3 million USD to develop and scale their proposals. The funding will be matched with the entrepreneur's own investments, which in the early stages of the development may be their own time invested. Technical expertise and consulting are also offered to increase the market opportunities for the products/models. New for this year's call for proposals is an increased focus on gender equality. The fund will therefore particularly highlight applications that have developed innovations with a positive impact on women.
"The lack of access to water impacts global development, and in particular decreases possibilities for women's participation within agriculture and businesses tied to food production", says Ana Gren, Policy Specialist in Water Resources Management at Sida.
Carol Bäckman agrees:
"Women and girls in many African countries spend up to six hours per day fetching water, and therefore miss out on education and work opportunities."
The application process for the current call is divided into three steps where the proposals are reviewed by technical committees. First, a brief concept note is submitted. Those applicants that get selected are asked to submit a more detailed project description. A number of these are called to interviews and finally 15–30 winners are announced.