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About The African Academy of Sciences

The African Academy of Sciences (The AAS) is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit pan African organisation. The AAS’s vision is to see transformed lives on the African continent through science. Our tripartite mandate is recognising excellence through The AAS’ highly prestigious fellowship and award schemes, providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping Africa’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) strategies and policies and implementing key Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) programmes addressing Africa’s developmental challenges through the agenda setting and funding platform Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in science in Africa (AESA). AESA is an initiative of The AAS and the African Union Development Agency (formerly the NEPAD Agency).

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About Grand Challenges Africa
Grand Challenges Africa is a programme of The AAS that seeks to promote Africa-led scientific innovations to help countries better achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by awarding seed and scale-up grants to the continent’s most impressive solutions.

About the African Union Development Agency

The African Union Development Agency (formerly known as the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency) was established in 2010 as an outcome of the integration of NEPAD into AU structures and processes. The AUDA is the implementing agency of the African Union that advocates for, facilitates and coordinates the development of continent-wide programmes and projects, mobilises resources and engages the global community, regional economic communities and member states in the implementation of these programmes and projects.

About Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Dr Susan Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H Gates, Sr, under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet.

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit
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About Arm
ARM technology is at the heart of a computing and connectivity revolution that is transforming the way people live and businesses operate. Our advanced, energy-efficient processor designs have enabled intelligent computing in more than 125 billion chips. Over 70% of the world’s population are using Arm technology, which is securely powering products from the sensor to the smartphone to the supercomputer. This technology combined with our IoT software and device management platform enables customers to derive real business value from their connected devices. Together with our 1,000+ technology partners we are at the forefront of designing, securing and managing all areas of compute from the chip to the cloud.

About Sida

Sida is a government agency working on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government, with the mission to reduce poverty in the world. Through its work and in cooperation with others, Sida contributes to implementing Sweden’s Policy for Global Development (PGU). Sida implements the Swedish development policy that aims to enable people living in poverty to improve their lives.

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Do you have a great idea to tackle water, sanitation and hygiene challenges?

19 September 2018-The African Academy of Sciences (The AAS) and partners today announced new funding for technology-based solutions to improve access to water and sanitation.

About 4.5 billion people worldwide lack access to sanitation while as many as one billion people defecate in the open, and an additional three billion use toilets from which the waste is not safely contained or, once emptied, is not safely treated.

The AAS has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF and ARM Technology to provide the Innovation for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in urban settings grant, which aims to promote healthy, safe, and productive lives. The grant is funded through The AAS Grand Challenges Africa (GC Africa) programme in partnership with the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). This is the fourth call to be issued under the GC Africa programme in 2018 and the fifth since the launch of the Grand Challenges Africa Innovation Grants in 2016.


Up to $100,000 will be given to each winning project for two years for technologies that improve access to clean drinking water, household sanitation and hygiene, and address urban pollution, and more specifically providing solutions to, among others:

  • Integrate hygiene promotion programmes with urban activities (such as marketplaces and schools)
  • Fill the data gap on measuring the proportion of waste emptied from pits and septic tanks and taken to treatment
  • Establish awareness programming to improve understanding of sanitation-related risks amongst dwellers in low income urban settlements
  • Monitor the level of environmental contamination, bacteriological contamination, or service failure across urban contexts and map trends in real-time.

Projects must target individuals, families, communities, urban planners, service providers, or WASH/ food infrastructure, networks, and systems taking into account these users’ needs and social, political, economic, environmental and infrastructural constraints of where the technology will be deployed.

Applicants located in African organisations should apply through The AAS Ishango Online System ISHANGO link while those in the rest of the world should apply through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation portal by Grand Challenges Explorations link.

Learn more about the Innovation for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in urban settings grant.