Where refrigeration is available, it brings with it a range of benefits including improving human health, income generation and reducing the burden that typically falls on women to shop for, gather and prepare food. In rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa, where there are particularly low levels of electrification, prevalence of off-grid refrigerators is low and is dependent on the uptake of solar home systems (SHS).
For the global market of off-grid refrigerators to develop, more energy efficient and cost-effective appliances are needed, but refrigerators are one of the most challenging off-grid appliances to design and develop, leaving consumers, for now, with expensive, inefficient and faulty products.
The 2016-17 Global LEAP Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition (Round 1) aimed to transform the global market for off-grid refrigerators by incentivising companies to nominate appliances to be tested in laboratory and field settings, and then to be benchmarked against one other. As is characteristic of the Global LEAP Awards, a subsequent round followed (the 2019 Global LEAP Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition or Round 2), however Nesta’s evaluation and this follow-up review focus on the results and effects of Round 1.
The competition was launched in 2016 and a set of awards were made to the best appliance in each of five categories plus two innovation prizes (for Overall Value and Energy Efficiency). A third and final innovation prize was awarded for Appropriate Design & User Experience, in November 2018, as the results of field testing, in Uganda, of shortlisted appliances became available. Soon after this third prize was awarded, the innovation foundation, Nesta, submitted its evaluation report1 to the competition’s funding partners, the Efficiency for Access Coalition (DFID and USAID).
Round 1 of the competition was delivered by the NGO, CLASP, with support from Ideas to Impact, a programme funded by DFID to test the value and use of innovation prizes for development by designing, implementing and evaluating prizes in a range of contexts. Unlike other prizes in the Ideas to Impact portfolio, the Global LEAP Off-Grid Refrigeration Competition takes the form of a Recognition Prize, i.e. awards are made for innovation that is likely to have taken place ahead of the prize being launched.
To enable learning from the Global LEAP Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition to join those identified through evaluations of other prizes in the Ideas to Impact portfolio, Itad (as the programme’s Evaluation & Learning Team) carried out a follow-up review to Nesta’s evaluation, the findings of which are presented in detail in this report.
The follow-up review takes the evaluation findings from Nesta’s report, and combines them with a second collection of largely qualitative data to consider three areas of particular interest to DFID:
What happened next to the finalists and winners of Round 1 of the Global LEAP Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition e.g. did participating in the competition lead to further innovation?
If and how did the competition change the market and specifically, what was the effect of the Results-based Finance (RBF) mechanism used in the competition (see Box 1 for information on the RBF programme)?
How did learning from Round 1 of the competition influence the design of Round 2 and that of the Off-Grid Cold-Chain Challenge (another prize run by Global LEAP, funded through the Ideas to Impact programme)?