Updated Jan 15, 2019CLOSED

The OPTions Initiative RFP

Offered by Grand Challenges Canada as part of OPTions Initiative

The goal of theOptions for Pregnancy Termination (OPTions) Innovation Initiativeis to support Bold Ideas with Big Impact® for women’s and girls’ access to safe abortion in low- and middle-income countries. We seek innovative and transformative approaches that put women and girls in control of where, when and how they terminate their pregnancy. The focus of this call is therefore to support the development and testing of: 1)new approaches to increasing early access to existing abortion products and services, and 2)new methods of pregnancy termination.
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CLOSEDFeb 19, 2019Deadline
Up to $250,000Amount

Mandatory Requirements

StageStage 3: Proof of Concept and Stage 4: Transition to Scale
Implemented In:
RegionLow and Middle Income Countries
Focus AreasSexual and Reproductive Health (Health)
The OPTions Initiative seeks innovative and transformative ideas that have potential to improve access to safe abortion in low- and middle-income countries where there are one or more legal grounds to support it. These ideas could originate from innovators worldwide and across a wide range of disciplines. We are seeking innovations that:

-Increase access to existing abortion products and services for women and girls who have chosen to terminate their pregnancy.

-Develop and test new methods of pregnancy termination that are an improvement over existing methods.

Eligible applicants include social enterprises and other recognized institutions (e.g., non-profit organizations, academic institutions, 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. United Nations country offices are not eligible to apply.

These innovations can be developed in any country, so long as the new method of safe abortion is ultimately designed to benefit women and girls in low- and middleincome countries

Other Requirements

Target BeneficiariesInnovations must ultimately benefit women and girls amongst the poorest of the poor in eligible low- and middle-income countries.

The focus of this call for proposals will be on addressing barriers that limit access to safe abortion in countries where there are one or more legal grounds to support it6 . While 4 Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) is a surgical method of abortion that removes pregnancy tissue from the uterus. 5 Medical Abortion (MA) uses Mifepristone and Misoprostol pills to induce abortion. 6 Guttmacher Institute, Abortion Worldwide 2017: Uneven Progress and Unequal Access (March 2018), Appendix Table 1 (pg. 50). The abortion legality continuum ranges from category 1, outright prohibition on any ground, to category 6, allowing abortion without restriction as to reason. The four intermediate categories permit abortion on progressively broader grounds: to save a woman’s life, to protect a woman’s physical health, to protect her mental health, and for socioeconomic reasons. Many countries permit abortion on at 4 prohibitive laws and policies are recognized as a key determinant to the uptake of safe abortion services, legal reform is not an objective of this call. The OPTions Initiative also intends to increase awareness and understanding of local laws to ensure women know their rights. Innovators must have a strong plan in place to mitigate risks of unintended negative consequences that could stem from increased awareness of safe abortion rights and services, such as the risk of more restrictive policies being implemented.
Potential for ScaleGrand Challenges Canada expects that the most successful innovations it funds will eventually be scaled up through partnerships – either with the private sector, the public sector or a combination of both – and that such scaling will be carried out with the goal of achieving meaningful health impact for the poorest of the poor in low- and middle-income countries.

By the end of the seed grant, innovators are expected to have demonstrated proof of concept of their idea, developed a plan for scale and sustainability, and attracted interest from key stakeholders and partners needed to proceed along a path to scale and sustainability. Successful innovators may be invited to apply for Transition to Scale funding.
Impact Evaluation/M&E PlanFunded projects are expected to demonstrate impact on the health and rights of women and girls in eligible low- and middle-income countries. To this end, projects should have a monitoring and evaluation approach to clearly measure these outcomes, identify shortcomings and maximize impact. In the case where it is not feasible to measure lives saved and/or improved during seed funding, projects are expected to demonstrate measurable change in at least one of the following outcomes:
● Improved access to existing methods of safe abortion
● Reduced delays in a woman’s decision to seek care, reach a facility, and/or receive care
● Scientific evidence of a new drug, formulation, or prototype for pregnancy termination that is a significant improvement over existing methods.
Reporting RequirementsInnovators funded under this program will be expected to engage in the following activities and provide the specific deliverables listed below, in order to demonstrate project progress and success:

1. Performance reporting focused on utilization of funds and outcomes achieved. The frequency of reporting will be every three or six months, depending on our assessment of project and institutional risk.

2. Dissemination of knowledge in a timely manner, including through social media, open access publications, depositing of data into publicly accessible repositories, press releases, conferences, stakeholder engagement, etc. Acknowledgement of Grand Challenges Canada will be required. Please note that innovators will be expected to publish their findings in open access journals or through on open access publishing platforms, typically within 12 months of completing their seed grant.

3. A final report that accounts for financial expenditures and that captures a clear assessment of the impact of the project. Please note that a 5% hold back of funds will be applied to all funding under this program, to be released to innovators upon submission of a satisfactory final report and full justification of costs

4. Continued post-grant updates on impact, global access, data access and management of intellectual property rights in supported innovations
OtherWhat Grand Challenges Canada will Not Fund
Grand Challenges Canada will not consider funding capacity-building initiatives, ongoing programmatic funding, ideas that are not applicable to poor women and girls in low- and middle-income countries, and ideas that are not transformative, innovative, and do not push the field beyond current paradigms and assumptions. Grand Challenges Canada will not consider funding projects that involve establishing proof-of-concept of innovations for which the core intellectual property rights are owned by a third party institution, unless either (a) the third party institution has granted the applicant sufficient license rights to the innovation to permit eventual scaling in low- and middle-income countries, or (b) the third party institution is willing to sign an undertaking to Grand Challenges Canada committing to comply with Grand Challenges Canada’s Global Access requirements. Grand Challenges Canada will not consider funding innovations that are similar to innovations previously funded by Grand Challenges Canada. See our website for a searchable database of innovations funded by Grand Challenges Canada (http://www.grandchallenges.ca/who-we-are/discover-our-innovations-and-results/).

Application Directions

To apply for funding, applicants must use the online application form provided, which is only accessible via the Grand Challenges Canada’s Fluxx Portal,gcc.fluxx.io.

Application And Awards Process

For new accounts only – It will take one (1) business day to receive your login credentials, and may take longer during peak periods. Therefore, we suggest requesting an account no later than February 5, 2019. Once your information has been processed, you will be emailed a username and a URL to set up a password of your choice. Click on the URL provided in the email to select a password of your choice.



Past Funded Innovations Of The OPTions Initiative RFP

OCT 2019
  • $200,000PENDING
    1. TITLEOPTions
    2. TYPEGrant
    3. FOCUS AREASAll Sectors
    4. IMPLEMENTED INAll Sectors
    5. FUNDINGThe OPTions Initiative RFP
    6. ORGANIZATIONGrand Challenges CanadaGrand Challenges Canada as part of OPTions InitiativeOPTions Initiative
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