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Grand Challenges Ethiopia (GCE)

Grand Challenges Ethiopia (GCE)

Grand Challenges Ethiopia is an initiative of Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) officially launched in October, 2015 during the 17th Annual Review Meeting and established with its own secretariat and taskforce under AHRI since 2017 full funded by FMOH though SDG pull fund. It is part of the Global Grand Challenges family initiatives and partners with Grand Challenges Canada, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and USAID to stimulate the creation, appraisal, promotion and scale up of innovative ideas and concepts that are responsive to the defining health-related challenges and assist in the effective implementation of the Ethiopian health sector transformation plan (HSTP) and contribute to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Since 2017, the Grand Challenges Ethiopia supports innovative ideas through the provision of seed grant to explore proof of concept, transition to scale grant for potential impactful innovation, validation grant to test innovation and technological solutions surfaced elsewhere for their applicability in the Ethiopian context to end all preventable deaths of mothers and children by 2030.

The principal objectives of Grand Challenges Ethiopia are:
Stimulate innovations that solve the health sector challenges and contribute to achieve SDGs in priority areas includes Newborn and childhood health Maternal health Pastoralist and other least developed regions’ health services

  1. Test innovations and technological solutions surfaced elsewhere but are applicable in our setting; Test and adapt Innovations and technological solutions in the priority areas  that have occurred elsewhere in the world, which are cost-effective, socially and culturally acceptable, potentially impactful and scalable
  2. Invest in implementation of selected innovations at scale: Evaluate potential cost and impact of each innovation towards ensuring provision of equitable, quality health services in short-term and/or achieving SDGs in the long-term, and test innovations for implementation at scale.

                                          Grand Challenges Ethiopia Path Way               

Funding and Selection Mechanism 

Funding Mechanism 

  1. Provide Seed Grant fund  for  proof of concept and idea of innovation   in the priority areas on competitive bases
  2. Provide Validation Test Grant for testing innovations and technological solutions surfaced elsewhere for its applicability in Ethiopian context on competitive bases
  3. Provide Transition to scale Grant for effective and impactful innovation for wider implementation on competitive bases

Selection Mechanism

  • Proposal call is announced every year on Reporter and Ethiopian Herald newspapers as well as posted on AHRI website
  • Proposal submitted to Grand Challenge Ethiopia secretariat electronically through email
  • Proposal evaluation has two level includes:
    1. Primary screening: all received proposals are screened by AHRI in house screening committee using predefined screening criteria
    2. Detailed proposal evaluation by Grand Challenges Ethiopia taskforce; all proposals qualified the primary screening submitted to the Grand Challenges Ethiopia Taskforce for detailed evaluation using preset evaluation criteria. Taskforce is composed of an independent and impartial team of experts organized from different Governmental, None Governmental and professional association to provide technical advice to secretariat and evaluate application proposals for funding

Eligibility Criteria

  • The applicant could be individuals with affiliation to accountable government institution
  • Grand Challenge Ethiopia WILL fund technological innovations (repurposed tools, methods), social and business innovations on the priority thematic areas
  • Grand Challenge Ethiopia WILL NOT fund discovery science (pure research proposal), routine capacity-building initiatives or ongoing programmatic funding.

Progress Made So Far

Since 2017, a total of 42 seed grants were supported. Of these, 25 were developed prototype and completed their first stage implementation phase.  From these 25 seed grant innovation projects, 10 were qualified for the second phase or transition to scale grants and are currently under implementation. Moreover one validation test project was supported and is currently under implementation.       

In general, the implementation of this initiative has achieved encouraging results where most of the grand challenges Ethiopia grant recipients have been developed new diagnostic and therapeutic tools that will have a potential to solve health sector grand challenges particularly to improve maternal and child health as well quality of health care in Ethiopia.

Some Prototypes Developed By Grand Challenges Ethiopia Health Innovation Grant Winners 

Automated Compound Light Microscope With Advanced Microscopic Image Analyzer Using Monochromatic Light Sources Prototype Developed by Abel Worku, Shimels Nigusu and Gadissa Wagri and their team from Jimma University

Infant Radiant Warmer prototype device used to treat Hypothermia developed by Samuel Sisay (PI) and his team from Jimma University

a.Electrically powered                  b.Solar powered 

Neonatal Jaundice Treatment (Phototherapy) prototype Electrical and solar Powered developed by Mr. Habitamu Abafogi (PI) and his team from Jimma University


 a. Detection result for malaria                         b. Detection result for Tuberculosis

Mobile Application prototype Developed to Diagnosis of Malaria and TB by Fetulhak Abdurahman and Dr. Kinde Anlay from Jimma University

Vital Signs and Body Composition Monitoring prototype Device developed by Mr. Shimels Nigusu from Jimma University

Non-Invasive Pregnant Hemoglobin Measuring prototype Device for Diagnosis of Anemia developed by Ketema Lamma ,  Abdurezak Haji and their team from Jimma University

GCE Resources




Shallo Daba Hamuse (PhD)
Grand Challenge Program coordinator
Email: shallo.daba@ahri.gov.et 
Tel.(Office) +251118356823
Phone +251911210930
Po.Box. 1005
Addis Ababa,Ethiopia