The competition, the culmination of CARE’s Scale X Design Accelerator, aims to close the gap between innovation and impact
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (Jan. 27, 2017) — The global humanitarian organization CARE last night awarded three $150,000 grants to winners of the inaugural Scale X Design Challenge, a first-of-its-kind competition designed to help proven poverty-fighting interventions scale up fast.
The winners are:
- Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST) shortens the time, reduces the cost and simplifies the process for individuals claiming their land rights in Tanzania.
- Krishi Utsho is a micro-franchise network of small kiosks that sell agricultural supplies and services to small-holder farmers, particularly women, in rural Bangladesh.
- CHAT! uses technology to promote health education among women factory workers in urban Cambodia.
The challenge is the pinnacle of CARE’s Scale X Design Accelerator, which combines mentorship, workshops and investment to close the gap between innovation and impact in order to transform the lives of exponentially more people, faster.
“The global community has made great strides over the past couple of decades in cutting extreme poverty by half,” said Michelle Nunn, CARE president and CEO. “But it’s not nearly enough. If an innovation is breakthrough in its ability to help people lift themselves out of poverty, we want to replicate that success across entire countries, regions and, in some cases, the world. But you can’t just wave a magic want and say ‘scale.’ It takes great forethought, intention and investment. In other words, scale comes by design. And that’s what Scale X Design is about.”
Leading social entrepreneurs, investors, corporate executives and development practitioners convened at New Lab in Brooklyn, N.Y., for collaborative workshops and a final “Pitch Night,” — moderated by Fast Company staff writer J.J. McCorvey — where teams presented their ideas to a panel of expert judges and an audience, both virtual and actual. Judging the competition were Lauren Bush Lauren, founder and CEO, FEED, which creates products that engage consumers in the fight against world hunger; David Belt, co-founder and CEO, New Lab, a multidisciplinary design and technology center; and Dr. Hazem Fahmy, country director for CARE in Egypt. But they weren’t the only ones judging. CARE broadcast “Pitch Night” via Facebook Live, offering viewers a chance to participate by voting online for their own favorite program.
Whatever the favorites, all teams shared a common goal: to accelerate their program’s impact in a world that, despite significant gains over the past 25 years, finds more than 800 million people in extreme poverty.
Representing 30 countries, from Uganda and Malawi to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the first Accelerator cohort of 15 teams competed first in Atlanta — home to CARE’s headquarters — where judges selected five teams to advance to the Challenge in New York. In addition to the winners, the two other finalists were: Journeys of Transformation, which empowers couples in Rwanda to improve communication, positively transform the balance of power between husbands and wives, and reduce the incidents of intimate partner violence; and Chomoka, which digitizes the CARE Village Savings & Loan Association model through a mobile app that allows VSLA members in Tanzania to access formal banking services, manage their account and gain advisory support.
“CARE was founded on an innovation — the original CARE Package that delivered life-saving food and supplies to World War II survivors — so it makes sense that, more than 70 years later, we showcase innovation as key to deepening our impact today,” said Dar Vanderbeck, CARE’s chief innovation officer and leader of the Accelerator initiative “We are inspired and motivated by the results and overall experience of Scale X Design, and we feel it addresses a significant problem in the humanitarian and development sector — long years and even decades it takes effective programs to reach scale.”
Although the first Scale X Design Accelerator and Challenge featured only CARE projects, the long-term vision is to engage a wide range of participants in order to elevate and fund the development sector’s most promising, proven programs, regardless of who has designed and implemented them. The private sector uses accelerators to move ideas to meaningful scale quickly. CARE has adopted this method – like human-centered design, prototyping and lean startup techniques – to more rapidly scale up existing programs that are already successful, but that lack the means to grow exponentially.
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. That’s why women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education and health, create economic opportunity, respond to emergencies and confront hunger. Last year CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care.org.
About the Scale X Design Accelerator
CARE’s Scale X Design Accelerator is a first-of-its-kind platform that draws on private sector examples to rapidly design, test and learn, iterate and implement the most promising, proven ideas. Collaborating with social entrepreneurs, investors, corporate executives, development practitioners and community leaders, the Accelerator identifies and cultivates innovations with high propensity for growth. Building on CARE’s strong tradition of evolving to meet critical humanitarian needs, the inaugural Scale X Design Accelerator will serve as a catalyst for multiplying impact, in the same generous spirit that ignited a global movement more than 70 years ago when CARE delivered the first of more than 100 million CARE Packages to survivors of World War II and other families around the world.