UN agencies launch innovation challenge to support women’s empowerment, maternal health and reproductive rights

UNFPA, the United Nations agency for sexual and reproductive health, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the International Telecommunication Union are pleased to announce their first-ever Joint Innovation Challenge 2022.

UNFPA’s mission is to create a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. The Joint Innovation Challenge 2022 supports this mission by promoting innovative solutions to the challenges of women’s empowerment, reproductive health and gender-based violence.

Challenge Overview

The 2022 Joint Innovation Challenge will fund women-centered innovations, including those that enable women to access reproductive health care in humanitarian settings, or scale up prevention and response to gender-based violence. The challenge aims to scale projects that disrupt gender inequalities and advance the empowerment of women and girls globally.

The ten challenge winners will sign a nine-month contract and receive investments of up to $60,000. UNFPA and its partners will also provide them with targeted mentoring, training opportunities, interactive workshops and unique access to the UN network to help bring their ideas to life.

Eligibility criteria

  • The proposal must be aligned with the objectives and mission of UNFPA
  • The applicant must be registered and operate in a UNFPA program countries
  • Applicant must have created an existing prototype, pilot, and minimum viable product
  • The proposal must include a viable and sustainable path to scale

Application process

  • Expressions of interest can be submitted on our website


  • April 15: Deadline for expressions of interest
  • April 30: Selected applicants invited to submit Requests for Proposals
  • May 25: Deadline for Requests for Proposals
  • June 2022: live pitch event with 20 finalists; announcement of the 10 winners
  • July 2022: Virtual Bootcamp with winners and mentors
  • July 2022 to March 2023: Scale positioning; ongoing mentoring and audits
  • March 2023: End of the challenge
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Mara R. Wilmoth