Grand Challenges Canada

Toronto, June 20, 2022Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) is proud to announce that, since its inception in 2010, funded global health and humanitarian innovations have improved a total of 10 million lives in low- and middle-income countries. In terms of impact, amongst the 10 million lives are 1.78 million pregnant women and newborns receiving treatment and services to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes (i.e., healthier pregnancies and reducing common risks and problems experienced during pregnancy and birth). As part of our funding, innovators carry out monitoring and evaluation activities to assess the impact of their innovations, and report results to GCC.

Watch our video to see some of the innovators behind the ‘10 million lives improved’ achievement:

“It’s the impact of the innovators that we honour today; we feel humbled and proud to support their work,” said Karlee Silver, Co-CEO of Grand Challenges Canada. “The need to support local transformative innovations is more important than ever. The challenges of the global pandemic and insecurity have more deeply impacted women and children, rolling back progress towards the achievement of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda/Sustainable Development Goals. But we’ve also seen the power of innovation to change lives. Grand Challenges Canada estimates that the innovations it has supported to transition to scale and sustainability have the potential to improve up to 64 million lives improved by 2030; today’s announcement demonstrates that innovators are up to the challenge to meet this goal.”

Jocelyn Mackie, Co-CEO of Grand Challenges Canada, added: “The reality is that life-saving and -improving innovations usually take years to move from idea to scale and to maximize their impact. This is where Grand Challenges Canada has made a difference. In just 11 years, we’ve demonstrated our unique niche in the global ecosystem of innovation for impact. We’re willing to take on innovation risk that other investors are not able to manage. It’s important to note that these results would not have been possible without our funders and partners, in particular Global Affairs Canada.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, added: “Sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights. It is why for more than decade we have worked with Grand Challenges Canada to mobilize innovations to challenging problems in this area and others. I want to congratulate Grand Challenges Canada and the innovators they support on achieving this major milestone of improving the lives of ten million people. Because of their work in partnership with Canada, that we have touched the lives of millions of women and girls. I look forward to continuing our partnership to deliver results that the world needs to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.”

In addition, Grand Challenges Canada’s portfolio of funded innovations has saved 46,300 lives to date, and has the potential to save up to 1.78 million lives by 2030.

Lives improved by Grand Challenges Canada portfolio

Portfolio # of lives improved (since 2010) Description of impact
Sanitation 5,373,000 Regular and consistent usage of improved sanitation, with waste removal and disposal
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health 1,778,000 Treatment and services to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes
Saving Brains 1,542,000 Improvements in early child development outcomes including physical growth, cognitive development, language and communication and social and emotional development
Other health challenges 836,000 ex. Communicable and non-communicable diseases
Humanitarian Grand Challenge 229,000 Regular, consistent and reliable access to safe drinking water and sanitation, energy, lifesaving information or quality health supplies and services for people affected by humanitarian crises caused by conflict
Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights 166,000 Increased knowledge or behaviour change related to sexual & reproductive health and rights
Global Mental Health 76,000 Symptom severity reduction or remission for a mental health disorder or problem
Total 10,000,000

Impact measurement process

  1. Expected number of lives improved and lives saved during the funding period
    • We work with innovators to determine their objectives and targets at the outset of the funding.
  1. Actual number of lives improved and lives saved during the funding period
    • Innovators report quantitatively and qualitatively every six months.
  1. Modelling potential number of lives improved and lives saved out to 2030
    • For later-stage Transition To Scale innovations, we develop impact models to estimate the potential number of lives improved and saved.
    • Methodology: (much like market projections) using relevant health data and statistics; information on the target population, demand and ability to meet it; assumptions about success factors; and discounts for barriers to impact at scale, and likelihood of failure.
  1. Our team reviews results and compares them to the expected results, Monitoring & Evaluation Plans and Progress Reports

About Grand Challenges Canada

Grand Challenges Canada is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact®. Funded by the Government of Canada and other partners, Grand Challenges Canada funds 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, Grand Challenges Canada has supported a pipeline of over 1,300 innovations in 106 countries. Grand Challenges Canada estimates that these innovations have the potential to save up to 1.78 million lives and improve up to 64 million lives by 2030.


For more information, please contact:
Douglas Chow, Senior Manager, Communications
Grand Challenges Canada