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Lessons of challenge funds for resilience building

One of the key objectives of the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP) is to create an environment that enables great ideas to thrive. Through the GRP Challenges, GRP identifies innovative ideas with real-world impact and supports these initiatives to achieve their full potential, taking them to scale where possible. The outputs and outcomes from these Challenges are then taken up through GRP’s communication work, its policy and influence agenda and the monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) workstream.

GRP has commissioned two challenge rounds: The Global Resilience Challenge (also known as Round 1 or R1 in shorthand) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Water Window (WW) Challenge with a particular focus on resilience to flood-related issues, funded by the Z Zurich Foundation. Through these Challenges, GRP works with 22 projects and 21 grantee consortia in 16 countries across sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia. A third Challenge – the GRP Innovation Challenge – was launched in March to surface resilience solutions at the intersection of Food & Water Security, Peace & Stability, and Disaster Resilience.

This case study looks at evidence of good practice in the use of Challenge Funds 1 to deliver resilience outcomes based on a review of the literature. We then review GRP’s experience of R1 and Water Window Challenges in light of this evidence with the aim of drawing lessons for future potential GRP Challenge Funds. Beyond GRP and its partners, the report is also aimed at those considering sponsoring Challenge Funds as well as those involved in managing or running them.