Innovation Challenge: Faecal Sludge Treatment Solutions for Disease Outbreaks in Densely Populated Humanitarian Settings

Last date: 
Monday, October 12, 2020

Detailed Description

The Elrha is accepting applications for Innovation Challenge: Faecal Sludge Treatment Solutions for Disease Outbreaks in Densely Populated Humanitarian Settings.

This Innovation Challenge will provide funding and support to innovators to develop locally-embedded solutions for safe on-site treatment of faecal sludge during disease outbreaks in humanitarian settings. Solutions should be low-tech, low-cost, compact, easily transportable and rapidly deployable to facilitate a fast and effective outbreak response. The solutions can either be new or adapt existing technologies or approaches to disease outbreaks in humanitarian settings. For this Challenge, they are interested in settings that have a high population density in either urban or non-urban areas, in particular health clinics, and the Challenge aims to generate solutions that will improve the effectiveness of humanitarian WASH responses to outbreaks worldwide.

The Challenge

  • Elrha is looking for faecal sludge treatment innovations for disease outbreaks in densely populated humanitarian settings.
  • Your innovation should focus on treating at least one specific pathogen that can cause disease outbreaks. They encourage solutions effective at treating multiple pathogens.
  • Your innovation can be an adaptation of an existing treatment solution or a new low-cost technology or approach.
  • Examples of suitable projects could include (but are not limited to) one of, or a combination of, the following:
  • Adapting and improving current faecal sludge treatment solutions in new disease outbreak environments in humanitarian settings.
  • Designing and testing new effective sludge treatment solutions for one or more specific pathogens.
  • Trialling new ways of testing if a new or existing faecal sludge treatment solution has been effective. For example, burying sludge in a pit on-site is a method often employed in rural settings, but there is little evidence available on its effectiveness.
  • Elrha is especially interested in projects that combine the development or adaptation of treatment solutions with complementary research, such as exploring the survival times of specific pathogens in faecal sludge.

Funding Information

  • Elrha have a total budget of 500,000 GBP available for this Challenge. From this, they envisage funding a selection of projects with varying budgets; ideally in the range of 50,000 to 250,000 GBP per project.
  • Each project is expected to last between 12 and 19 months; all projects must be completed by 31 October 2022  without the possibility of extension.

Eligibility Criteria

  • This Challenge is open to all who meet the following eligibility criteria
  • The lead applicant organisation must be a legally registered entity (ie, academic/research institution, government, international non-governmental organisation, national non-governmental organisation, private company, Red Cross/Red Crescent movement, United Nations agency or programme, or civil society organisation). Applicants are expected to provide relevant evidence (eg, registration document) at the EoI stage.
  • Your application must consist of a partnership between at least one operational humanitarian organisation and one academic/research institution (this includes the lead applicants; ie, if the lead applicant is a humanitarian organisation, they will not be required to apply with another humanitarian organisation to be eligible, but they will be required to partner with an academic/research institution). At least one project partner must be from the country(s) or region(s) where your project will take place. This could be either the operational humanitarian partner, the academic partner or an additional partner. Applicants are not expected to have confirmed partnerships in place for the Expression of Interest stage, but will be expected to provide evidence to demonstrate partnerships by the Full Proposal stage.
  • You must propose an innovative solution for treating faecal sludge on-site during disease outbreaks in densely populated humanitarian settings and have access to relevant test sites. Please note that it is up to the applicant to explain how the solution is innovative and why the setting is humanitarian and densely populated. Projects may include a research component but this must complement the development of your treatment solution and contribute to addressing the problem area.
  • You should clearly state the outbreak pathogen(s) with a faecal-oral transmission route that your solution will target.
  • Projects must include a Problem Recognition stage in which the specific treatment problem is clearly defined for the chosen setting(s), existing evidence is presented, and the proposed solution is clearly explained.
  • You must demonstrate an understanding of ethical and other risks relating to the implementation of your project, including how to mitigate and monitor such risks throughout its duration.

Want to know more? In this short explainer video they’ll share:

  • An overview of the Challenge
  • What they’re looking for
  • Key criteria and how to apply

Assessment Criteria

Eligible applications will be evaluated based on the more detailed assessment criteria described below

  • Good understanding of the faecal sludge treatment problem
  • Innovative solution
  • Suitability for densely populated disease outbreak settings
  • Evidence of effectiveness
  • Locally-embedded solutions
  • Holistic consideration of the fsm chain
  • Adaptability and scalability
  • Ethics and risks
  • Effective sharing and uptake plan
  • Activities & Deliverables

Funded projects will be expected to complete the following activities and deliverables:

  • Problem recognition stage
  • Adaptation/development of the treatment solution for the chosen outbreak setting
  • Implementation of the solution
  • Monitoring and evaluation of effectiveness
  • Sharing learning


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