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Finding the Best and Brightest Ideas to Build Resilience

I’m often asked what we at The Rockefeller Foundation mean when we talk about the intersection of resilience and innovation. One way to understand that relationship might be to imagine this:

A new, deeply researched understanding of how inclusive financial services might enhance food security and spark new, resilience-building small businesses.

A plan to design roads that helps improve hydrology.

A cross-sectoral effort to employ advanced analytics to help small holder farmers manage risk better.


Today, we’re proud and excited to announce our backing of these ideas – and others just as potentially game-changing – and name the teams that were selected in the first phase of the Global Resilience Challenge to research some of the biggest barriers to resilience in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.

The Global Resilience Challenge is a cornerstone initiative of the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP), an initiative spearheaded by The Rockefeller Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to address climate and population change. The teams backed by GRP are now eligible to receive funding to explore their ideas further, and, potentially, up to $1 million of funding to create solutions for them. We’re hoping that the resilience solutions these teams develop will offer new innovations that help vulnerable regions build the resilience to recover from, and bounce back even stronger after, acute shocks and chronic stresses.

The teams are now working on ‘Problem Statements’, which we’ll publish in April 2015. Then – in an ongoing attempt to ensure that we’re hearing from the broadest possible pool of emerging innovators – we’ll invite new teams to submit ideas or innovations that they believe will help to address any of the final problem statements. This separate “wild card” pool, which will accept applications through July, will award up to three new teams with funding in September 2015.

I hope you’ll continue to follow the developments of the GRP Challenge. Explore the teams, understand the issues they have identified, and think about whether your ideas can address them. If we’re to overcome the deeply complex resilience challenges in these regions, we need strong collaboration and new thinking. I hope you’ll bring that thinking and collaboration to the table.

To learn more about the Global Resilience Partnership and Challenge, please visit, follow @GRP_Resilience on Twitter and join the resilience discussion our LinkedIn Discussion Group.

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