WomenConnect Challenge Application
Submission Deadline07/15/2018

Steps to Applying to the WomenConnect Challenge

Thank you for your interest in the WomenConnect Challenge. We are currently only accepting applications from selected semi-finalists.


Issue Date of RFA

March 8, 2018

Deadline for submission of RFA Questions

March 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm Eastern Time (ET)

RFA Questions Webinar

April 2, 2018 at 10:00 am ET

Deadline for submission of RFA Stage One: Concept Note

May 4, 2018 at 12:00 pm ET

WomenConnect Solver Symposium (Open to selected semi-finalists)

June 19 – 21, 2018

RFA Stage Two: Full Application opening (Open to selected semi-finalists)

June 15, 2018

Deadline for submission of RFA Stage Two: Full Application

July 13, 2018 at 5:00 pm ET

WomenConnect Challenge Model

USAID’s Challenges are designed to spark a global conversation around a defined problem and build an evidence base of possible solutions. USAID then supports the development of these pilot approaches through technical assistance and monetary support and scales proven solutions for maximum reach and result.

  1. Phase One: Identifying and Testing Solutions: March 2018 launch. Approximately 10 grants will be distributed among the winning solutions. WomenConnect anticipates disbursing approximately $1 million in grants during Phase One.
  2. Phase Two: Transitioning Proven Solutions to Scale: January 2019 launch. Additional Awards to be made in Phase Two.

This RFA is soliciting applications for Phase One.


We look forward to receiving your application and learning about your solution! The WomenConnect Challenge is currently only accepting applications from selected semi-finalists.

Questions and Answers

Questions regarding this RFA should be submitted by March 28, 2018 at 12:00pm ET. Submitted questions will be answered at a Webinar on April 2, 2018 at 10:00 am ET. Join the Webinar on April 2 here: https://zoom.us/j/321636254. Answers to questions will also be posted under the Downloads section.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements to participate in the WomenConnect Challenge:
  • The WomenConnect Challenge is open to registered US or non-US organizations regardless of type (for example: for profit, not-for- profit, civic groups and others). For-profit Applicants must be willing to forego profit per 22 CFR 226.81. Individuals are eligible to apply, though they are required to demonstrate existing partnerships with established organizations (supporting documentation is required and an organization must agree to be the grant signatory).
    • The following are not eligible:
      • Government entities
      • Individuals without demonstrated partnerships with organizations
  • The WomenConnect Challenge is open to all organizations regardless of size. We encourage applications from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from around the world.
  • All Applicants must use WomenConnect funds to implement a solution in a country with USAID presence. Applicants must either already have a presence in that country or must demonstrate they have a local partner (supporting partnership documentation is required).
  • Solutions must directly relate to the WomenConnect Challenge goals and funding requirements.
  • Applications must be submitted in English.

WomenConnect encourages proposals from

  • Diverse groups that have clear, strategic, collaborative models to tackle the complexity of the digital gender divide
  • Private sector actors, entrepreneurs, and organizations with market-based solutions and/or clear plans for sustainability beyond the point of award
  • Proposals that promote more gender equitable access to and usage of existing digital infrastructure (as opposed to solutions that necessitate new infrastructure)
  • Organizations with women in leadership positions

WomenConnect Challenge will not fund

  • Solutions with a strictly research focus
  • Solutions in the idea phase with no demonstration of application
  • Solutions that center around the provision of free equipment or focus on building new infrastructure
  • Solutions that focus on a single component of the issue (for example, standalone digital literacy programs or SIM-card giveaways)
  • Solutions that do not establish partnerships with relevant stakeholders
  • Solutions that do not address societal perceptions and/or women’s trust and safety while online
  • Solutions that are a continuation of an existing project without a new component
  • Solutions that are affiliated with a political party or engaged in political activity
  • Solutions that are focused solely on religious activities

Late Applications

Applications for either Stage One or Stage Two that are submitted late or are incomplete run the risk of not being considered during the review process. No additions and/or modifications to applications will be accepted after the submission deadline.


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