The West Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (WA RILab) http://www.warilab.org/, hosted by the School of Medicine and Heath Sciences of the University for Development Studies, which is part of the continent-wide ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) – www.ranlab.org led by Makerere University in Uganda organized a pitching session for selected CRID4FAL Grant Call applicants on the 18th March 2017. This engagement was held at the Radach Hotel, Tamale Ghana to further guide the process to select innovative solutions to benefit from SEED funding opportunities at RAN. The event brought together over 60 participants.
The CRID4FAL Grants Call was launched on September 15, 2016 and received widespread local, regional and international publicity across various channels due to an extensive publicity drive on various media platforms such as the University websites, Network Plus Partner Institutional communication platforms, announcements on local FM radio stations, Posters and flyers, etc. Over 200 applications were received and processed. A total of 105 applications met the minimum requirements and were subsequently moved to the next phase to be evaluated by highly qualified, experienced multidisciplinary and impartial judges. These judges, with expertise in the technical domains under each pathway were drawn from the academia, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Local government, INGOS, UNICEF, Traditional Authority, the Private Sector among others. The Judging Panel was responsible for evaluating applications for alignment with RAN’s theory of change with respect to strengthening resilience to shocks and stresses arising out of the effects of rapid urbanization. A total of 42 Teams were selected.
The final 42 short-listed CRID4FAL teams were invited to make a live pitch of their projects/Innovations at a Pitching Event to a total of 17 judges from the fields of academia, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Local government, INGOS, UNICEF, Traditional Authority, Private Sector among others. The judges were divided into four (4) panels of each pathway i.e., Agriculture & Marketing; WASH/H, Livelihoods Diversification & Financial Inclusion and a Mixed Group. This was to enable WA RILab to select a team of motivated, experienced and innovative resource persons from different disciplines and organizations who would then collaboratively co-create complementary ecosystem of projects designed to positively impact on the effects of rapid urbanization. The projects would fit together to deliver services on a common systems level platform. The selected team members would then collaborate to transform their ideas into a set of fundable projects that have shared platform integration features.
From the 42 projects, , 39 applications were assessed with 8 teams pitching via skype (six and two) from (Kampala, Uganda and Bamako, Mali) respectively. Each of the shortlisted teams had 10 minutes to present their projects and explain their role in strengthening the resilience of Africa communities to the judges and all those present in the room. They also responded to questions and clarified on technical issues that arose during the presentation. A total of 16 applications emerged as best potentially transformative projects with the best 4 selected from each of the four panels. 13 innovative projects have been identified for potential phase 1 funding through CRID4FAL Grants.
A debriefing session with judges after the pitching event brought to the fore suggestions such as organizing orientation events for innovators on Pitching before the actual Pitching event and the need to address issues related to language barrier for teams from Francophone countries.
In her closing remarks, Prof. Gordana Kranjac-Berisvljevic on behalf of the WA RILab Innovations Advisory Board thanked WA RILab and the judges for effectively managing the pitching process and supporting the development and provision of solutions through innovation.