Grand Challenges Canada


 — Selected innovations will receive up to $150,000 CAD that address health effects of climate change in low-and middle-income countries — 

Dubai, 3 December 2023 — Grand Challenges Canada announced the nomination of over 40 new innovations for awards to address the impacts of climate change and health in low- and middle-income countries. The announcement was made by Grand Challenges Canada CEO Dr. Karlee Silver at a climate and health event hosted at COP28, the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Dubai, UAE. 

The innovations were selected as part of a 2022 Request for Proposals (RFP) launched by Grand Challenges Canada’s Stars in Global Health program, in partnership with the South African Medical Research Council, with support from the Government of Canada. The RFP called for solutions that addressed adaptation gaps and aimed to build resilience against the effects of climate change on the human health and wellbeing of underserved communities.  

 “Climate change threatens many of the gains that we have made in health. We have selected novel approaches that address communicable diseases, food insecurity, mental health, respiratory and heat-related illnesses that are worsened by the unique way climate change is showing up in different parts of the world,” said Dr. Karlee Silver, CEO of Grand Challenges Canada. “As early investors in this space, we hope to grow with communities as they adapt to climate threats, and work with promising innovations as they transition to scale.” 

The award nominees emerged from a pool of 772 applications received from 80 countries, with three-quarters of all applications coming from Africa. Collectively, they will receive up to CAD $6M to turn their innovative ideas into action.   

The nominated innovations are each eligible for up to CAD $150,000 over a period of 12-18 months to support the validation and testing of new approaches, subject to successful negotiation. The projects will begin in early 2024. Select award nominees include:  

  • African Applied Chemical (South Africa): Development and testing of “Next Generation” mosquito net for control of insecticide resistant mosquitoes.  
  • African Research Collaboration for Health (ARCH) Limited (Kenya): Development and efficacy evaluation of a molecular-based point-of-care rapid diagnostic tool for the detection of schistosomiasis in an endemic low-resource setting.
  • Aga Khan University Hospital (Pakistan): Use of water filters to impact on diarrheal diseases and malnutrition on children under 5 years in flood-affected areas. 
  • AIDS Widows and Orphans Education Support Organization (South Sudan): Improve water quantity and quality to 11,000 communities affected by drought in Kapoeta East. 
  • Asociacion para la Conservacion de Vida Silvestre y Marina (Costa Rica): Wastewater solutions for Nosara, Costa Rica. 
  • Associação Sekeleca U Phatima – ASUPHA (Mozambique): Using emotional education based on neurolinguistic programming techniques to develop behavioural skills for climate resilience.  
  • Association Tchad Plus (Chad): Development of a mobile health solution to detect and treat schistosomiasis, a disease caused by parasitic flatworms.  
  • Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (Bangladesh): Community emotional intelligence network to address mental health in coastal Bangladesh.
  • Bridge to Health Medical and Dental (Canada, Peru): Point-of-care ultrasound for early detection of dengue fever in communities in the Peruvian Amazon.
  • Cameroon Youth School Tech Incubator (CAYSTI) (Cameroon): Mobile application to increase the use of indigenous foods and nutrition education in Cameroon. 
  • Carleton University (Canada, South Africa, Senegal): Design of emergency infectious disease response treatment centres to respond to outbreaks exacerbated by climate change. 
  • Centre Pasteur du Cameroun (Cameroon): An early warning system for the surveillance of mosquito-transmitted viruses (ALARMO). 
  • Charitable Analytics International (Canada, Kenya): Digitizing WFP’s food distribution network in the arid regions of Kenya using the Meza system. 
  • College of Medicine of the University of Ibadan (Nigeria): Reciprocal elder peer support innovation to lower the incidence of mental health emergencies and climate change (RESILIENCE). 
  • FONDATION HAMADE (Burkina Faso): Using winged mayflies to combat malnutrition and undernutrition in Burkina Faso. 
  • Friends of Health Initiatives (Rwanda): Reducing malnutrition in vulnerable Rwandan communities by enhancing their drought resilience. 
  • Geotek Water Solutions, LTD.: Geotek’s Community-Led Water Resilience: A solar-powered handpump monitoring system that builds resilience against water scarcity in sub-Saharan Africa.  
  • Giusta Health Foundation (Nigeria): Development of a mobile app and web interface to track and predict disease outbreaks due to flooding in Nigeria. 
  • Health Research and Services Solution (HRSS) (Rwanda): Introduction of an aeroponic system to fight against child stunting among Indigenous people.
  • The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) (Canada, Pakistan): Addressing climate change-related mental health effects among women and children in rural Pakistan. 
  • Integrated Youth Empowerment Center (IYEC) (Cameroon): Promotion of water and sanitation at community level. 
  • International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Kenya): Creation of an AI-based digital advisory system to predict the risk, propagation, and outbreak of visceral leishmaniasis, a vector-borne disease transmitted by sandfly parasites.
  • International Life Sciences Institute India (India): Exploiting climate resilient crops for improved nutritional security under projected climate scenarios in low- and middle-income countries. 
  • JOELEX UGANDA LIMITED (Uganda): Development of a solar-powered water solution to purify drinking water for underserved communities in Kampala, Uganda.  
  • Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) (Kenya): Creation of a diet-based solution for malnutrition, leveraging Integrated Multitrophic Aquaculture (IMTA) of seaweeds, rice and fish for improved nutrition and health in Kenya.
  • Laboratoire Industriel d’Alternatives Vétérinaires SARL (Morocco): Innovative natural composition to combat microbial biofilms in plastic water containers used by rural households in low-income countries.
  • Lung Care Foundation (India): Training and point-of-care diagnostics to detect asthma in children.
  • Maïa Africa SAS (Burkina Faso, Uganda): Introduction of MAÏA ointment to protect Ugandan rural households from malaria. 
  • Marondera University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (MUAST) (Zimbabwe): Implementing community recovery groups to address psychosocial health challenges due to climate extremes. 
  • n.a.d.a. (Colombia): Decontamination and design of a sustainable plan for the protection of the wetlands of Charcho Azul and El Pondaje in Cali, Colombia through the implementation of a community- based environmental school. 
  • Ndalo Heritage Trust (Kenya): Sorghum value addition with climate smart foodstuffs, post-harvest management and sustainable production in Siaya county, Kenya.
  • North-West University (South Africa): Development of a risk assessment map to detect exposure to biological allergens and air pollutants under climate change conditions within low-income communities in South Africa.
  • Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria): Using biofilters to improve air quality and health in Nigeria.
  • OffGridBox (Rwanda): An all-in-one system to provide power, clean water, and energy to rural clinics in Rwanda.
  • Rescue.co (Kenya): Integrating Africa-specific weather data into an emergency rescue platform to allow anticipate extreme heat and mobilize emergency supports for communities at risk, including expectant mothers and newborns. 
  • Sembe (Cameroon): Establish community nutrition centres in Biamo and Makary districts of Cameroon. 
  • University of Cape Coast (Ghana): Dietary intervention to mitigate the negative health effects of air pollution.
  • University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo): Bayesian spatio-temporal modelling to support early warning systems on the impact of climate change on the burden of malaria. 
  • University of Nairobi (Kenya): Enhancing food and nutritional security of pastoral communities in Kenya through establishment of mushroom-vegetable production and fortification enterprises. 
  • Wits University (South Africa): Wits University’s Reconnection and Care innovation uses creative and expressive arts healing practices to help children experiencing mental distress to build resilience, self-awareness, self-compassion, and self-regulation. 

The selected projects will help support communities to adapt to the health impacts of climate change, focusing on communicable diseases, malnutrition, increasing climate literacy, developing early climate warning systems, and more.  

Read Grand Challenges Canada’s report with insights from the climate and health funding call.

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Grand Challenges Canada is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact®. Funded by the Government of Canada and other partners, we fund innovations to address pressing global challenges. Since 2010, we have supported more than 1,400 unique innovations in 102 countries. For more information, visit: www.grandchallenges.ca/ 

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