What’s new in the 2021 Challenge Fund

The Challenge Fund of the Czech-UNDP Partnership for Sustainable Development Goals entered its fifth round of Call for Application this summer.

We are glad to see the continuous interest of Czech innovators in the Challenge Fund” said Dagmar Novohradská, CUP’s Senior Project Specialist, adding that “We have received many quality applications which came both from new implementers and ones whom we had worked with before. I believe that the final selection really shows the wide variety of innovative solutions that the Czech Republic has to offer.

This year, the UNDP selection committee has chosen 12 innovative solutions

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, CROSS Zlín will implement their innovative adaptive traffic control system with detection of emergency vehicles who require priority.

There are two new projects coming to Ethiopia. In the City of Hawassa, Holistic Solutions will produce a feasibility study on Natural-based Wastewater Treatment Plants to tackle the issue of wastewater which continuously pollutes local lakes. The second intervention in Ethiopia is also connected to water. MODELÁRNA LIAZ  will use its latest airborne exploration tools to locate sustainable deeper groundwater sources in one of the most drought-affected area, the Somali Region.

This year will see four new projects implemented in Georgia. In Tbilisi, Incinity will introduce a smart city platform with public portal to increase the effectiveness of resource management by the municipality. Charita Česká Republika will pilot HIV self-testing solutions and share their know-how with government institutions to design and roll out nation-wide project to increase the interest in preventive HIV testing among Georgians. Petr Sic company will share its experience with sustainable organic tea-making with local producers in Georgia’s Guria region, to provide a roadmap for obtaining organic certification for their products. In Rustavi, will leverage their AI expertise to support development of competencies and skills of young people, strengthen the local innovation ecosystem and bring municipality, private companies, and universities together.

Five projects are going to be implemented in Moldova. Zikmund electronics will support local sewage networks maintenance capabilities with their innovative modular camera system for inspection. In Ungheni, DATmoLUX will increase road safety for town’s 35,000 residents by implementing an advanced radio controlled system for public lighting. Also, two other challenge fund innovation are connected to traffic-related smart solutions, which are a novelty in Moldova. Czech Innovator Green Center is implementing an automated parking system with integrated charger for electric vehicles in Chisinau. Citizens of Moldova’s capital will also benefit from the public transport passenger information system introduced by Herman systems. Ultimately, RCE Systems is going to work closely with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Moldova when introducing their advanced traffic video-analytic system to enhance capabilities of existing cameras across the country.

About the Challenge Fund

The Challenge Fund is a new modality in the UNDP environment and Czech Republic was the first country to implement it within the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub. Since its debut in 2018, the modality grew both in the number of implemented projects and number of participating countries. CUP projects are currently being implemented in Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia.

Each year the call for proposals focuses on diverse array of challenges. Therefore, the thematic areas for each partner country are different and so are the chosen projects. Building on the existing experience, CUP thematically aligned topics of this year’s call for proposals to reflect priorities of UNDP Country Offices in each respective country.

Just like last year, Czech innovators could submit their proposals to tackle development challenges in six priority countries, which include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Georgia, Moldova, and Zambia. Each chosen project is awarded up to 40,000 USD and the total budget includes a co-financing of at least 20% on the side of project implementer. Each project can last up to 12 months.

As Dagmar Novohradská explains, “12 months may seem short, but in fact the flexibility and ability to address real local priorities is the main assets of the Challenge Fund.

The implementation of Challenge Fund projects is financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Via the Challenge Fund, the Czech-UNDP Partnership for SDGs brings innovative solutions from the Czech Republic’s private sector, NGOs, universities, state institutions, research centres and individuals to tackle specific developmental challenges in the priority countries.

The content of this material does not necessarily represent the official views of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, or of the United Nations, including UNDP, or UN Member States.