By Sharon Atieno

Amref Health Africa is among the top 100 proposals for a grant worth $ 100 million to help solve one of the world’s most critical social challenges. The MacArthur foundation grant is awarded for the best proposal in a competition dubbed the 100&Change.

Amref Health Africa’s proposed project called the Financial Inclusion Improves Sanitation & Health (FINISH), addresses the achievement of clean water and sanitation for all as per the sustainable development goal 6.

The FINISH model which is aimed at mobilising communities, governments, financiers and businesses to construct improved toilets across Africa and Asia, is a proven partnership model that comprises Amref Health Africa, WASTE and Aqua for All.

“Our vision is to facilitate the building of over five million improved toilets serving over 25 million beneficiaries and bringing down diarrhea cases. Through this, 2.2 million tons of compost for Agriculture will be generated and create over 273,000 job opportunities for unemployed youth within sub-Saharan Africa. Each dollar invested in the FINISH model is going to unlock four dollars in co- investment in sanitation,” said Dr. Githiji Gitahi, Amref Health Africa Global Chief Executive Officer.

The proposals were rigorously vetted, undergoing MacArthur’s initial administrative review, a Peer-to-Peer review, an evaluation by an external panel of judges, and a technical review by specialists whose expertise was matched to the project with each of them being evaluated using four criteria:  impactful, evidence-based, feasible, and durable. MacArthur’s Board of Directors will select up to 10 finalists from these high-scoring proposals this spring.

 “MacArthur seeks to generate increased recognition, exposure, and support for the high-impact ideas designated as the Top 100,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change and MacArthur Managing Director, 100&Change.

“Based on our experience in the first round of 100&Change, we know the competition will produce multiple compelling and fundable ideas. We are committed to matching philanthropists with powerful solutions and problem solvers to accelerate social change.”

In the inaugural competition in 2017, Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee were awarded $100 million to educate young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Syrian response region and to challenge the global system of humanitarian aid to focus more on building a foundation for future success for millions of young children. 

Since then, other funders and philanthropists have committed an additional $419 million to date to support bold solutions by 100&Change applicants.