Grand Challenges Canada

Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, supports 44 “Stars in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”

Toronto, Canada – Grand Challenges Canada is proud to announce an investment of over CAD$10 million to test 100 new ideas to address persistent challenges in women’s and children’s health in low- and middle-income countries. Fourmillion of this is dedicated to 44 projects addressing sexual and reproductive health and rights, putting Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy into action.

Proposed by institutions in Canada and abroad, the bold ideas embrace a range of creative solutions to empower the lives and improve the health of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women and children in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe.

The projects will each receive a seed grant of $100,000 to develop and test their innovations, funded by Grand Challenges Canada, with financial support from the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

Photo: Nyaya Health's workshop discusses chaupadi in Nepal.

Photo: Nyaya Health’s workshop discusses chaupadi in Nepal.



Reversing Stigma and Maternal Mortality in Northern Nigeria

The Deliver Health Foundation will implement a trauma-focused care training for midwives, and an anti-stigma campaign to improve the sexual and reproductive health for women and girls returned from Boko Haram. The violence of Boko Haram has caused over 2 million people to flee their homes. Resulting insecurity created a lack of maternal healthcare resources for vulnerable displaced populations. For survivors of sexual violence, pregnancy can be a traumatizing experience without the support structures of family and community, which can lead to delivery complications and an increased risk of maternal mortality.

Emoji Pendant Helps Young Women Make Smart Reproductive Choices in Rural India

The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre is looking to assist rural women in India with the creation of a personalized, accessible, data-driven, women-centric strategy for sexual and reproductive wellness and clinical care in the form of a wearable pendant. This technology will track health data on menstruation, clinical signs, symptoms, body temperature, and heart rate, and display information with different coloured emojis. The wearable pendant connects to a smartphone app to deliver wellness indicators to nearby clinical providers, where women can access self-controlled, high-quality tailored health services, using data to inform smart choices. Such choices will inform their reproductive and sexual lives and reduce morbidity and mortality.

Combatting Chaupadi and Empowering Women in Rural Nepal

Nyaya Health Nepal will combat Chaupadi; a practice that forces menstruating women to inhabit cramped sheds away from their home. While outlawed, the practice continues, leaving young women vulnerable and perpetuates the inferior status of females. Despite recent progressive healthcare policies, over 10 million Nepalis lack access to healthcare, due to fragmented infrastructures, a decade-long civil war, and the 2015 earthquake. Nyaya Health Nepal’s network of local female community health workers (CHWs) will integrate with government hospitals to reach rural populations to provide counseling of women and their families, engagement with local elected leaders, sensitization trainings for hospital workers, and monitoring through a digital system. The network’s CHWs exercise a distributed task sharing model of counselling and critical health information sharing, and can cover a wider catchment area in this mountainous country than the state healthcare system.

Descriptions of all projects are in the Appendix of Project Descriptions, with innovations delivered by social enterprises, non-profit organizations, research institutes, universities, foundations, and hospitals.

Over the past seven years, Grand Challenges Canada’s “Stars in Global Health” program has provided CAN$70 million to 661 projects, implemented in 87 low- and middle-income countries over 9 rounds of funding since 2011. Fifteen of the most promising of these “Stars in Global Health” innovations that have received “Transition To Scale” funding, have the potential to save 1.1 million lives, and improve 18.5 million lives by 2030.

“Grand Challenges Canada is committed to supporting bold ideas and is proud to support the Government of Canada in realizing its Feminist International Assistance Policy. Canada’s ongoing global leadership in development innovation will accelerate achievement of the sustainable development goals.”

– Dr. Karlee Silver, Vice President Programs, Grand Challenges Canada.

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Appendix of Project Descriptions – Stars R9 (June 05, 2018)

Global Affairs CanadaFeminist International Assistance Policy

Stars in Global Health program



Grand Challenges Canada is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact®. Funded by the Government of Canada and other partners, Grand Challenges Canada supports innovators in low- and middle-income countries and Canada. The bold ideas Grand Challenges Canada supports integrate science and technology, social and business innovation – known as Integrated Innovation®. One of the largest impact-first investors in Canada, and with a feminist investment approach, Grand Challenges Canada has supported a pipeline of over 1,000 innovations in more than 90 countries. Grand Challenges Canada estimates that these innovations have the potential to save up to 1 million lives and improve up to 28 million lives by 2030. Find out more:



Ken Tong
Communications Strategist
Grand Challenges Canada

Tel.:   +1 416 583 5821 ext. 5581
Email: ac.se1713906453gnell1713906453ahcdn1713906453arg.w1713906453ww@sn1713906453oitac1713906453inumm1713906453oc1713906453