2023 Seed Grant Award Problem Statement Categories

Problem Statements

Agriculture and Food Security

Problem #1: Inadequate Data Validation Controls Along the Supply Chain Value Chain

Country/Region of execution:  Multiple Countries
Collaborating Organization:  United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
WFP is the biggest humanitarian aid organization aiding approximately 97 million beneficiaries per annum around the world. WFP is the first responder to emergencies caused by conflict, climate shocks, pandemics, and other disasters. In 2020, WFP and its partners responded to 17 concurrent emergencies worldwide, the majority fueled by conflict. To accomplish its goal of saving and changing lives, WFP makes use of a range of transfer modalities combining food and cash assistance. On the food assistance front, WFP distributed 4.4 million MT in 2019, proving once more its efficiency and effectiveness in handling its operations as the leading humanitarian agency. However, to keep its competitive advantage in the nonprofit arena, the organization needs to seek ways to reduce operational costs and increase efficiencies.
Problem Statement Description:  WFP has been challenged with inadequate data validation controls along the supply chain value chain with manual data entry potentially leading to (i) misalignment of information between physical information and digital data; (ii) insufficiency in the reliability of end-to-end traceability: and (iii) unavailability of real-time visibility. The WFP traceability system aims to allow accurate traceability from the point of receipt in the country to the distribution level. The project targets the establishment of a continuous process flow for improved visibility on the value chain for all stakeholders.

Problem #2: Climate-Smart Agriculture Solutions for Small-Holder Farming

Country/Region of execution:  Kenya
Collaborating Organization:  Aqua and Agriculture Initiative (AAI)
Aqua and Agriculture Initiative is a non-governmental organization focused on improving the well-being of people living in Kenya's arid and semi-arid (ASAL) regions by providing safe and clean water. The organization's mission is to better the quality of life for locals of these areas by setting up projects to mitigate food insecurity and improve access to clean, safe, and sufficient water. In our quest to improve food security in these areas, our organization utilizes climate-resilient approaches capable of mitigating the scarcity of food caused by the adverse effects of climate change. Also, the organization is centered on boosting water harvesting solutions in these areas to increase available water for use. The organization's vision is to have a food-secure nation with access to clean, safe, and adequate water for everyone.
Problem Statement Description:  Climate change has exacerbated vulnerabilities in climate-sensitive productive agroecological arid and semi-arid landscapes (ASALs) worldwide (Kogo et al., 2021). Kenya’s terrain is characterized as ASAL by more than 80% because of a low annual rainfall index (IUCN, 2022). Approximately 16 million people (30% of Kenya's population) call these areas home and struggle to survive through subsistence small-scale farming despite the significant social and economic challenges. Droughts and floods are especially hard on ASALs, and if climate change continues to have an effect, these regions are increasingly running the risk of becoming even more food insecure, threatening lives and livelihoods. These climatic changes are lowering agricultural productivity and threatening food security, water access, and livelihoods.
Through the Aqua and Agriculture Initiative (AAI) as an organization and in consultation with the Kenyatta University School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, we have been taking some of the following steps to resolve this problem:

  • Enhanced rainwater harvesting with tanks and sand pans.
  • Restoration of damaged boreholes.
  • Pumping and piping of water to farmers' fields.
  • Training on irrigation and people's utilization of water.
  • Provision of climate-resilient seeds to farmers.

In response to the global 2030 agenda, this project will address four sustainable development goals. We strive to end hunger and promote food security that the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened through climate-smart agriculture (SDG 2); enhance good health and well-being across all ages vulnerable to the climate crisis (SDG 3); support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water through harvesting, utilization, and management (SDG 6); and strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related risks in agriculture in the county (SDG 13).

Problem #3: Improving Household Income and Food Security for Female Smallholder Farmers through Increased Access to and Adoption of Hermetic Storage Technologies

Country/Region of execution:  Zambia
Collaborating Organization:  Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
As an international development and relief agency, CRS has been working to serve the world's most vulnerable for more than 75 years. Since 2000, CRS has supported smallholder farmers in Zambia at every level of the value chain to support market linkages and improve agricultural productivity, household income, and food security. In the past seven years alone, CRS Zambia has partnered with government actors, international and US-based research institutions, and value-chain actors to build market linkages and out-grower schemes, scale drought-resistant seeds, and strengthen farmers' skills in marketing, microfinance and savings, innovation, and conservation. Earlier this year, CRS supported a comprehensive value chain analysis of postharvest handling and technologies led by the WFP. By partnering with Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS), CRS Zambia seeks to build on these findings and past learnings to improve postharvest management practices and access to hermetic storage technologies for male and female smallholder farmers.
Problem Statement Description:  The value chain analysis (WFP, 2022) found that postharvest losses in Zambia affect more than 50% of smallholder farmers (SHFs), resulting in more than $25.6 million worth of lost maize annually due to poor on-farm storage alone. SHFs in Zambia contributed more than 70% of the nation’s grain supply in 2020-2021, despite an estimated 10-15% of postharvest losses, negatively impacting livelihoods and food security. The adoption of hermetic storage technologies (HSTs) offers a way to significantly reduce losses. However, overall adoption of HSTs has remained low, one reason being that interventions have failed to integrate gender.  Most SHFs in Zambia sell immediately after harvest or store grain in unprotected buildings or ordinary bags, applying insecticides every three months and failing to protect from mycotoxin or aflatoxin contamination. HSTS like metal silos or bags could help, but one analysis found that metal siloes decisively benefit male farmers, who produce greater surpluses because of greater access to land (SDC, 2015). This has also caused a shift in ownership structures of grain storage from being traditionally female to male, further disadvantaging female farmers. PICS bags could be more feasible due to size, cost, and transportability; plus, they are particularly effective for maize, soya, and cowpeas. However, procurement of traditional storage bags is done by men, a practice likely to transfer to PICS bags. This suggests barriers to access for female SHFs for HSTs and could have compounded consequences for female-headed households, who earn less on average than their male counterparts and are the poorest among poor households.  While working with SHFs to curtail postharvest losses through improved access and adoption of HSTs is critical, ensuring equitable access for female SHFs is paramount for sustainable economic development and food security. The CRS-PICS intervention will leverage producer and distribution networks to reach 8,000 SHFs and 140 agro-dealers to improve access and uptake from 2023-2026. Unfortunately, the most recent analysis does not expand on the role of women in the value chain for HSTs; thus, a greater gender lens is needed to understand how interventions can be more gender-inclusive. Improving agricultural productivity, household income, and food security by reducing postharvest losses among SHFs, particularly female farmers, furthers SDGs 1, 2, 5, and 9, as well as SDG Target 12.3, which aims to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and to reduce food loss along value chains (including postharvest losses) by 2030.

Problem #4: Increase Benefit and Awareness of Breadfruit to Help with Food Insecurity in Haiti

Country/Region of execution:  Haiti
Collaborating Organization:  World Concern
World Concern is a Christian global relief and development agency whose supporters’ faith compels them to extend opportunity and hope to people facing the most profound human challenges of extreme poverty: World Concern works in Africa, Asia, Haiti, and the Americas. Established in 1955, World Concern works to alleviate suffering among the poor in developing countries and to address the root causes in each context. World Concern works in multiple sectors to build the capacity of village-based groups, non-governmental partners, and other counterparts to lead and sustain their development. World Concern is committed to best practices of inclusive, participatory, and accountable relief and development and maintains rigorous financial and program monitoring standards. Program assistance is provided on the basis of need alone, without regard to race, creed, or religion.
Problem Statement Description:    Haiti has been facing a tragic situation over the past three years. Currently, 4.7 million people are facing the food insecurity crisis, 2.9 million people are in the crisis phase, the percentage of people in IPC4 is increasing by 18%, and the affected areas have tripled. Inflation is raging and has reached 38.7%1.  The actions of armed gangs have disrupted the entire national economy. The recent resurgence of the cholera epidemic, already reaching more than 13,672 cases and 283 deaths2, 35% of confirmed cholera cases are children under five years old. Thousands of internally displaced people flee areas invaded by gangs, particularly in the capital of Haiti. All of these situations affect families who are already in extreme poverty. Many children are reported malnourished. Access to clean water and food is becoming increasingly scarce.  The rate of global acute malnutrition revealed by the last SMART nutritional survey carried out is 6%. It has also been shown that in Haiti, severe acute malnutrition stands at 2.1%, slightly exceeding the emergency threshold of 2% set by the World Health Organization (WHO), while chronic malnutrition is numbered at 22.7%. The achievement of objective #2 of sustainable development by 2030, "Eliminate hunger, ensure food security, improve nutrition and finally promote agriculture," must imperatively pass through the valuation of nutritious products for all groups, especially for children suffering from malnutrition. If nothing is done, the situation will be worsened.  Our proposed intervention considers increasing benefit awareness and access to crops with high nutritional value, such as breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), constitute a solution to improve nutrition (and Maternal Child Health MCH), food security, and hunger-reduction. While opportunities are available, insufficient investment in product transformation results in the wasting of minimal resources available. Farmers' associations, women's associations, and local institutions, especially the local church leaders, are crucial to bringing long-term solutions to tackle the root of poverty through economic development strategies, particularly in rural areas in Haiti.  Breadfruit is the third most abundant fruit produced in the country after mango and oranges. This fruit is a rich source of fiber, complex carbohydrates, potassium, protein, lipids, mineral, and vitamins, especially vitamin C (48% of RDA). Previous studies on breadfruit flour have confirmed its superiority over wheat flour and demonstrated how breadfruit-based diets promote higher growth rates and body weight in mice. WCDO Haiti proposes to give added value to the fruit by transforming it into flour. This will increase its lifespan and its availability throughout the year. This new product would be distributed to vulnerable families to ensure that their children have a nourishing dish to eat and benefit from healthy physical and cognitive development.

1 https://ihsi.ayiti.digital/indicator-inflation)
2 https://www.mspp.gouv.ht/wp-content/uploads/Sitrep-cholera_07_D%C3%A9cembre-2022.pdf

Decent Work and Education

Problem #5: Scaling up Community Health Worker Programs to Respond to the Broader Needs of Low-income Female Laborers in India

Country/Region of execution:  India
Collaborating Organization: Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA)
Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), founded by the late Elaben Bhatt, is a member-based organization of 1.6 million poor women workers from the informal economy across 18 States of India. SEWA also has its presence in neighboring countries of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, and Sri Lanka. SEWA’s strategy involves working around the achievement of the twin goals of (a) Full employment - employment that provides work, income, and food security and Social Security and (b) Self-reliance – economic & decision-making. By organizing these women workers to attain full employment, SEWA helps them become autonomous and economically self-reliant, both individually and collectively, including decision-making ability. To achieve its goals, SEWA follows an integrated approach which does the following: (a) Organizing for collective strength, (b) Capacity building to stand firm in a competitive market, (c) Capital formation for risk mitigation & fight poverty, and (d) Social security to enhance well-being & productivity.
Problem Statement Description:  The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) is the largest trade union of women in the world and one of the most respected and impactful organizations in advocating for the rights of low-income female laborers in Southeast Asia. With the growing number of people in India with diabetes, India has the unfortunate designation of having one of the world’s highest burdens. While there are numerous barriers to managing the clinical aspects of diabetes, these barriers are further complicated by the social determinant of health barriers that the women of SEWA disproportionately face. Many of these women battle economic distress and family needs while navigating India's complex healthcare system. SEWA has tried to address these barriers for women and their families by hiring and training their union members to become community health workers (CHWs) who provide a comprehensive set of health-promoting services. This includes health education, socio-behavioral support and counseling, socioeconomic assistance, and direct provision of clinical services such as glucose screening. We are looking for additional collaborators to strengthen our community health worker program to better respond to the needs of the members we serve and the broader Indian public. Specific areas for improvement include more efficient data collection/collation, analysis of data, development of an M&E plan, development of novel language-adapted training, identification of scale-up strategies, integration of additional health conditions beyond the current set (primarily chronic non-communicable diseases), and better integration of care with clinics and other social determinant of health-related needs. The proposed responds to multiple Sustainable Development Goals as it improves clinical health and responds to the broader socioeconomic needs of low-income female laborers in India.

Problem #6: Promote Green Jobs and Green Skills to Unemployed Youth in Thailand, especially Women

Country/Region of execution:  Thailand
Collaborating Organization:  Community Children Foundation under the Royal Patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
Community Children Foundation (CCF) has been operating in Thailand since 1957. The foundation was registered as a local non-profit organization in 1975. CCF has implemented a development program in 238 areas in 34 provinces, with 230 committee members, 755 partners, 1,131 volunteers, and 1,202 youth leaders. CCF’s development programs focus on aged-appropriated, need-based, and sustainable approaches. All programs are based on assessment and insights from the country landscape analysis, CCF’s D-Score (disadvantaged score), and nationwide research. CCF's top goal is to empower underprivileged children and their families to reach their full potential, break out of the poverty cycle, and have quality living. The CCF’s latest 2021-23 Country Strategy emphasized three national priorities: 1) Food Security Sustainability, 2) Health, Hygiene, and Well-being, and 3) Education, Life Skills, and Career Skills.  These priorities are facilitated by three key drivers, including 1) Partnership Engagement, 2) Volunteers, and 3) Youth Leaders.
Problem Statement Description:  The COVID-19 pandemic has hardly hit Thailand since 2020, affecting local consumers and businesses. The economic shock associated with COVID-19 has also adversely affected youth employment. Despite the decreasing unemployment rate from 2.0% in 2021 to 1.5% in 2022, the country's youth unemployment rose to 27%, accounting for 170,000 persons. The Regional Economic Office of the Bank of Thailand indicates a rising unemployment rate of new graduates, especially in the North of Thailand, which rose from 41% in 2020 to 80% in 2021. Livelihood scarcity, environmental issues, and social complexity are the three main problems of the North of Thailand’s local community. Regarding livelihood, the locals stay with a $1,600 annual per capita.  For social complexity, ethnic minority groups here have a unique way of living that is sensitive to change. Family system and kinship are robust. The tribal way of life has resulted in limited career choices while local people rely mainly on monoculture with low income. Youth becomes low-skilled workers. Girls and women are obsessed with marriage traditions at an early age and being for household labor or household chores. Additionally, deforestation and contaminated water are also environmental concerns. Deforestation from invasive encroachment of farms and ranches into forested areas is widespread. Many families cut down trees from the forest to make firewood, as in the traditional way of life. The household data assessment found that approximately 5-8 kg. of wood is used daily. Averagely, each house uses about 2,000 kg. of firewood a year. Using chemical fertilizers also causes water contamination, and natural water sources have become a concern between people upstream and downstream. CCF realizes that youth is an essential social accelerator and a catalyst for change. This project aims to empower 100 disadvantaged youths, especially young females in the North of Thailand, to thrive and realize their full potential through CCF’s “YES” Program (Youth Entrepreneurship for Success), which will incorporate the promotion of green jobs and green skills. Under the BCG concept, the 7-step approach includes:

1) local context exploration
2) self-awareness and career compass
3) innovation, BCG, and design thinking
4) the BMC
5) digital communication
6) innovation fund support 
7) Marketplace.

Problem #7: Need Help with Real-time Data and Analysis on Student Learning and Classroom Performance to Improve Learning Outcomes using the Data for Decisions (DFD) Tool

Country/Region of execution:  India
Collaborating Organization:  Transform Schools, People for Action
Transform Schools, People For Action is focused on improving quality and equity in secondary education in India. We work with government school stakeholders through scalable and outcomes-focused models that transform Teaching, Learning, School Management, Transition, Retention, and Gender Parity. Programs are needs-based and tested through direct delivery projects, and proven models are scaled up through systems partnerships. We focus on improving systemic capabilities and capacities to implement and manage impactful learning enhancement initiatives.  This is achieved through a whole-school approach which ensures a multi-stakeholder collaboration to realize schools as outcome-focused, equitable institutions. 
To date, Transform Schools has reached 6.3M students, 68K head teachers, and 83K teachers. An evaluation by J-PAL has found that our flagship Transform Learning program adds up to 0.7 years of additional learning in just 50 hours of instruction per subject. This is 40-200% more than the control group learning gains.
Problem Statement Description:  Learning outcomes are a strong predictor of transition and continuity, and students who drop out are seen to have much lower learning levels than students who transitioned and remained in school1. Dropout rates for secondary grades in India are 14.6%2 with many states having rates higher than this3. Students in government school classrooms are at different learning levels due to a lack of remediation at lower levels, a lack of learning support at home, and the no-detention policy up to elementary grades. This heterogeneity in the classroom prevents teachers from effectively teaching class-level material to all students.  Global research finds that targeted instruction may help recover from worldwide learning losses and help realize SDG 4. It enables learning tailored to student needs, effectively accelerates learning and bridges gaps. Success requires relevant and regular data made available to decision-makers for planning and course correction.  Currently, the country’s public system educators are constrained by the absence of real-time data and insightful analysis. Traditional methods to process large data sets are cumbersome, time-consuming, and often top-down. The lack of classroom or school-level data makes educators and educational leaders unable to respond to current student needs or courses correctly.  Transform Schools is building the Data For Decisions (DFD) tool to help actors and decision-makers in low-resource environments collect and analyze relevant data for better planning and delivery of teaching-learning. DFD will use Machine Learning (ML) and predictive modeling to render live dashboards (disaggregated by gender and digital access) for tracking academic performance, participation, and engagement to aid Teachers in customizing learning basis class and student performance. DFD will also mine data to unlock unidentified patterns /correlations that contribute to or have a significant effect on the successful delivery of programs.  DFD will be built into our Accelerated Learning via Technology (ALT) solution - a blended learning platform for use by state governments to deliver, manage and monitor at-scale learning enhancement programs. Over the next three years, we will pilot, test, and scale the solution in collaboration with Transform Schools’ partner states, West Bengal, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh.  There is a clear need for a tool that can enable educators and decision-makers to make evidence-based decisions and ensure high-quality teaching and learning that can address learning outcomes. DFD is our powerful, proprietary tool to improve educators’ abilities, ownership, and leadership of student learning outcomes.

1 Study on Access, Transition, and Learning in Secondary Education, ASER (2016-2018)
2 Project Approval Board (PAB) Minutes ( June-July 2022) for Samagra Shiksha, Ministry of Education
3 https://indianexpress.com/article/education/over-a-dozen-states-have-dropout-rate-at-secondary-level-higher-than-national-average-8173362/

Problem #8: Creation of Green Jobs and Employability in Nairobi's Slum Estates through Waste Management

Country/Region of execution:  Kenya
Collaborating Organization:  ChildFund International
ChildFund International began working in Kenya in 1970 and currently works with 11 local partners (LPs) spread across 26 counties out of the 47 counties, implementing 51 different projects in 26 of the 47 counties, reaching approximately 1.1 million children, families and community members through various development interventions. In FY 2021 alone, ChildFund Kenya invested US $10.6 million in programs aiming to realize long-term, sustainable change for children and youth. Core sector programming focused on child protection, household economic strengthening, early childhood development, education, WASH, food security, emergency response, health and nutrition, climate change, and resilience building. Kenya’s current strategy sees us supporting and contributing to this vision and mission through our work with and for children in all stages of their lives.
Problem Statement Description:  Like many African countries, Kenya is currently faced with the opportunity and challenge of a so-called ‘youth bulge.’ Youth aged 15 to 35 years form about 35% of the country’s population. Over 5 million youth are unemployed or inactive in the labor force1.  Kenya’s unemployment is mainly attributed to slow growth, weak labor absorptive capacity of the economy, and skills mismatch. Most youths are vulnerable and underemployed in the low-paying informal Jua Kali sector in urban areas. The problem of youth unemployment is not unique to Kenya. It is a globally recognized epidemic so universal that Goal 8 of the SDGs notes the importance of generating ‘decent jobs’ for young people.  Kenya has a growing human population and an increase in urbanization as youths move to urban areas looking for employment opportunities. The urban centers have attracted a large population of informal settlements dwellers and the middle class2. This urbanization and increased affluence have led to increased waste generation and complexity of the waste streams. This trend is compounded by the growing industrialization of the Kenyan economy. Despite laws and policies guiding waste management, weak implementation and poor practices have led to towns and cities being overwhelmed by their waste, consequently affecting public health and the environment.  Waste management continues to be a huge issue in Nairobi. Due to inadequate planning and a lack of financial resources in public administrations, 2.5 million people do not have access to affordable waste management services. Therefore, most residents burn their trash or dump it illegally in the city and, as a result, often suffer severe health problems like infectious diseases or respiratory health symptoms among adults and children. According to the World Bank, every Kenyan generates 0.39 kg of waste per day. In the greater Nairobi areas, Kenya’s political and economic hub, 3,000 mt or 0.64 kg per capita of municipal waste occur daily from residential areas, industry, and other private companies as well as public institutions, a slight increase since the estimates of year 20103. Nairobi is Kenya’s capital city with a rapidly growing population of 4.397 million and among the leading cities in Africa with increasing waste generation.  ChildFund Kenya has partnered with Dow Chemical through project butterfly and other donors in initiating environmental conservation interventions in Nairobi County, focusing on sensitizations on the importance of the waste collection, recycling, and responsible disposal. Other projects being implemented by ChildFund includes:

• Tunawiri Kwa Taka: Thriving Through a Waste project funded by the Coca Cola foundation, which aims to contribute to an improved, safe, clean, and healthy environment while improving the livelihoods of women and youth in Mukuru Slums, Nairobi County, Kenya.
• Environmental Management and Jobs and Income Creation (EMAJIC) project seeks to improve waste collection using PPEs, improve sustainable income for the groups and stimulate innovation from recycled products by the youth. The project also aims to improve waste disposal in Kasarani sub-county for better hygiene for the locals.
1 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2021
2 https://www.nema.go.ke/images/Docs/Media%20centre/Publication/National%20Solid%20Waste%20Management%20Strategy%20.pdf
3 https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2021/03/11/battling-kenya-plastic-waste-young-kenyan-womantransforming-

Problem #9: Design a Data Strategy and Collection Framework Related to Community Immigration Needs

Country/Region of execution:  United States of America
Collaborating Organization:  Immigrant Connection
Immigrant Connection’s main objective is to increase access to high-quality, low-cost immigration legal services. Our programs focus on opening new immigration legal service sites (Local Immigrant Connection Sites) in under-resourced communities across the United States and increasing capacity at current sites (Immigrant Connection Legal Network). Currently, we have 26 immigration legal service sites serving more than 6000 immigrants nationwide.
The legal services of IC help immigrants obtain or maintain lawful immigration status. This status enables immigrants to improve their quality of life by building on a foundation of stability and security, as well as participating in and contributing to the growth of their communities.  Department of Justice accredited legal representatives with expertise in immigration law help immigrants apply for and renew green cards and work authorizations and provide legal services for family reunification, citizenship, humanitarian assistance, and DACA renewals.
Problem Statement Description:  The demand for immigration legal services far outweighs the availability of such services, especially in rural areas of the country. There are less than 11,000 immigration attorney offices and 800 non-profit immigration legal service providers nationwide. Typical immigration legal service providers often cannot provide services in rural, remote, or small communities due to high start-up and ongoing overhead costs. As a result, legal immigrants lack access to immigration legal services in rural areas leading to a loss of opportunities, income, and education for immigrant families.  The insecurity of a precarious status means that individuals and families are living with fear, heightened anxiety, and chronic high stress - all of which can have severe implications for physical health, performance at work, performance at school, relational health, etc. Access to immigration legal services and finding the support needed to navigate complex immigration situations and processes can alleviate fears and concerns about safety, healthcare, education, finances, food insecurity, family stability, removal, etc. Lawful immigration status restores peace and hope to families so they can move from surviving and enduring to thriving and living fully.  In this context, Immigrant Connection is working to ensure greater access to high-quality, low-cost immigration legal services across the US. We are strategically addressing this critical need with a two-pronged approach:

  1. by launching more immigration legal service sites (Local Immigrant Connection Sites) around the country - especially in hard-to-reach and under-resourced areas, and

  2. by multiplying the capacity of current Local Immigrant Connection Sites so they can serve more immigrant families.

The need is to design a data strategy and collection framework that will guide how Immigrant Connection collects and analyzes data related to community immigration needs. Ideally, the framework will also help identify opportunities to scale Immigrant Connection’s response in launching and multiplying new sites to improve service delivery, either digitally or in person.  Determining how to most efficiently and effectively provide access to immigration legal services in underserved communities meets SDG goal #10 related to reducing inequalities. The ability to gain and maintain immigration status also meets SDG #8 by allowing decent work opportunities and mental and physical well-being for the affected individual and, by extension, the entire community. SDG #8, related to education, is also affected by immigration status.

Good Health and Wellbeing

Problem #10: Need Alternatives to Cooking with Open Fire and Using Wood for Cooking Fuel

Country/Region of execution:  Rwanda
Collaborating Organization:  Integrated Development Action Rwanda (IDA Rwanda)
INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT ACTION RWANDA (IDA RWANDA) is a Rwandan non-Government organization founded in 2016. The organization is registered in Rwanda with registration certificate No 349/RGB/NGO/OC/12/2017 and legal personality certificate No: 442/RGB/NGO/LP/03/2019. IDA Rwanda’s mission is to promote the development of the living standards of vulnerable people and minorities in rural areas of Rwanda. The vision is to build an environment that eliminates social injustices and inequalities. IDA Rwanda carries out its activities in different intervention areas including but not limited to Health and Education, Human rights promotion and development, WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene), and environmental protection and preservation. We have successfully implemented different projects in the above intervention areas with financial support from National and international partners such as The Leiter Family Foundation, Engineers Without Borders USA/Purdue University Chapter, and Texas A&M University Chapter.
Problem Statement Description:  The World Bank measured in 2016 that only 0.5% of Rwanda‘s 12.6 million inhabitants had access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking. Instead, people heavily depend on solid fuels and wood, in particular, cooking on traditional open fires. The use of biomass, in particular firewood, holds huge importance in Rwanda and accounts for at least 86% of energy consumption. Wood fuel is in particularly high demand, especially in rural areas where 98% of households rely on wood as their primary cooking fuel. Extensive harvesting of wood is still causing significant problems of carbon emissions produced by inefficient fires and the impact on biodiversity and the environment caused by forest degradation in Rwanda. In addition, gathering sufficient fuel can take up to 4 hours every day, which means missing out on school and other more productive activities, perpetuating gender inequality.  This has a catastrophic impact on the health and well-being of people in rural communities and the environment in general. Women and children bear the brunt of cooking and tending the fire. Hence, they disproportionately suffer from the effects of smoke inhalation, and it is women and girls who bear the burden of gathering firewood.  The main cause of the problem is that there is no alternative cooking fuel in remote areas; only open firewood is available. It is important to initiate the communities to an alternative source of cooking fuel that is economical and environmentally friendly, not harmful to health, and not time-consuming so that they allocate the time for other development activities.  We have started awareness discussions during community meetings held each last Saturday of the month, and they are highly committed to contributing as much as they can to have access to efficient, smokeless, and affordable cookstoves in the community.

Problem #11: Create a Child-friendly Protection System for Safe Access and Use of the Digital Environment

Country/Region of execution:  Mexico
Collaborating Organization:  ChildFund International
ChildFund International works throughout Asia, Africa, and the Americas to connect children with the people, resources, and institutions they need to grow up healthy, educated, skilled, and safe. Our programs address the underlying conditions that prevent children and youth from achieving their full potential and, in 2021, reached 16.3 million children and family members.
ChildFund is a growing leader in the prevention of online sexual exploitation and abuse of children (OSEAC), a priority issue in our ten-year strategy (2021-2030). ChildFund Mexico forms part of the Federal government’s inter-institutional group to guarantee safe access to Information and Communication Technologies and Communication Media, supporting the country’s response to OSEAC, and recently contributed to developing a national curriculum on "Risks for children in the digital ecosystem."1
ChildFund Mexico is part of the ALUMBRA Community, comprising NGOs and telecommunications companies promoting the prevention of child sexual abuse in the digital environment.
Problem Statement Description:  Online sexual exploitation and abuse of children (OSEAC) can include the creation and distribution of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), online grooming, live-streaming of abusive acts, and sextortion. OSEAC was exacerbated by COVID-19-related shutdowns, as children spent more time online for education, entertainment, and socializing, often without adequate supervision.  Globally, Mexico ranks first in the production and distribution of CSAM and second in child sexual abuse after Thailand, according to data from OECD, 2019. Mexican law enforcement received 786,215 CSAM reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 20212.   During the same period, cybercrimes committed against children increased by 157%, according to a report from the National Guard, which also indicates that 26% of people surveyed did not know which the competent authority to report cybersecurity issues too, and only 4% of those surveyed whose children had a negative experience online reported it to the authorities3.  A recent ECPAT International and WeProtect Global Alliance survey found that young survivors of OSEAC did not trust that service providers would take their reports seriously.4  ChildFund Mexico has developed a strategy combining programmatic intervention and advocacy to mitigate the risk of OSEAC in the country. ChildFund Mexico has also worked with federal institutions to identify ways to strengthen the reporting system. There is a promising option - a mobile hotline application, PfCiber, developed by the Mexican Center for Electronic Crimes against Minors (CENADEM) to build public awareness and facilitate increased reporting of suspected cases of OSEAC. However, the application needs to be updated and more user-friendly. To increase the public’s use of the app and make child victims feel more comfortable using it to report, the app needs to be more child-friendly, engaging, trauma-informed, and victim-centered.  The challenge consists of the need to find technological solutions that are highly evolved and innovative but at the same time accessible and adapted to users with limited connectivity and their own simple devices that do not support heavy applications that consume a lot of data.  Ending OSEAC falls under SDG 16 and specifically Target 16.2, which calls for the end of abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children.

1 available on https://aprende.gob.mx/#  
2 https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/missingkids/pdfs/2021-reports-by-country.pdf
3 Study on Cybersecurity in Companies, Internet users and Parents in Mexico, 2021, by Asociación de Internet Mx. / ESTUDIO SOBRE CIBERSEGURIDAD EN EMPRESAS, USUARIOS DE INTERNET Y PADRES DE FAMILIA EN MÉXICO 2021
4 https://ecpat.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/20-11-2021_Mexico_National-Report_EN_FINAL.pdf  

Problem #12: Use Complete HealthTM System to Study the Impact of Digital Health Intervention

Country/Region of execution:  Africa
Collaborating Organization:  mDoc Healthcare
mDoc is a digital health social enterprise that optimizes the end-to-end self-care experience for people living with regular and chronic health needs by leveraging quality improvement methodologies, behavioral science, data, and technology.
Problem Statement Description:  Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as overweight/obesity, diabetes mellitus, cancer, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are becoming more prevalent globally, and Africa has to contend with a double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases.  Moreover, a person may suffer multiple NCDs simultaneously, complicating treatment options and outcomes. For instance, 41% of all obesity-related deaths in 2017 could be attributed to CVD1.   The increasing prevalence of obesity in Nigeria is driven by a shift towards more sedentary lifestyles and increased consumption of both calorie-dense foods and foods with high levels of refined sugar and saturated fats2. These problems are compounded by low health literacy across all low- and middle-income countries3.   mDoc aligns with SDG3 and aims to ensure the healthy lives of all people and to prevent needless suffering from preventable diseases like obesity and premature death from comorbidities of obesity through its CompleteHealth™ platform.   CompleteHealth™ is a digital platform that allows members who sign up to gain access to both a coach-led multidisciplinary care team as well as a platform for monitoring and tracking their health. The health coach, along with the care team (comprising nutritionists, behavioral wellness coaches, and a fitness coach), engages with the members through an omnichannel approach and provides regular digital nudges on monitoring their health metrics, including their weight, health education, nutritional advice, and virtual exercise classes. The members create personalized action plans with their health coaches, including plans for increased exercise and better nutrition.   So far, early data from CompleteHealth™ has shown a sustained reduction in the blood pressure of women of reproductive age. We are eager to expand this to help people with overweight or obese control their disease.

1 Chukwuonye, Innocent Ijezie, et al. "Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Nigeria: Systematic review and meta-analysis of population-based studies." PLOS Global Public Health 2.6 (2022): e0000515.
2 Chukwuonye, Innocent Ijezie, et al. "Body mass index, prevalence, and predictors of obesity in urban and rural communities in Abia State South Eastern Nigeria." J Diabetes Metab 6.570 (2015):2
3 https://borgenproject.org/low-health-literacy/

Problem #13: Create a Homebased Maternal-Child Health Training Technology that Focuses on Maternal and Newborn Care and Proper Feeding

Country/Region of execution:  Laos
Collaborating Organization:  World Concern
World Concern is a Christian global relief and development agency whose supporters’ faith compels them to extend opportunity and hope to people facing the most profound human challenges of extreme poverty: World Concern works in Africa, Asia, Haiti, and the Americas. Established in 1955, World Concern works to alleviate suffering among the poor in developing countries and to address the root causes in each context. World Concern works in multiple sectors to build the capacity of village-based groups, non-governmental partners, and other counterparts to lead and sustain their development. World Concern is committed to best practices of inclusive, participatory, and accountable relief and development and maintains rigorous financial and program monitoring standards. Program assistance is provided on the basis of need alone, without regard to race, creed, or religion.
Problem Statement Description:  Infant and young child feeding practices are poor, and low dietary diversity leads to malnutrition for both mothers and children.  

  • Rarely have enough maternal-child health facilities and qualified staff –no specialists.
  • Nutrition for children under five has been the highest-profile health-related development concern in the past 10-15 years.
  • Lao PDR has the highest rates of malnutrition in Southeast Asia.
  • 47% of pregnant women were anemic, and 39% of non-pregnant women were anemic
  • Urban children under five have a 13.9% rate of underweight measurements compared to 23.8% underweight levels in rural areas.
  • 21.5% of urban children are rated with stunting compared to 37.2% of children in rural areas. The data is even higher for communities with ethnic minorities.
  • Under-five mortality rates are also significantly higher nationwide in rural areas, which are 53/1,000, compared to urban areas at 24/1,000.
  • Goals on maternal-mortality rates have not been achieved.
  • Main issues: low rates of exclusive breastfeeding under the age of 6 months, the alarming increase in the use of baby formula, and inappropriate complementary feeding.
  • High anemia, low contraceptive use, and high fertility rates contribute to poor maternal nutrition.
  • High adolescent birth rates among ethnic minorities contribute to child stunting.
  • Harmful cultural practices/beliefs:
  • Babies should be born in the forest or at home.
  • Mothers are not allowed to eat protein and to take a bath and should stay in a hot room.
  • Trust cultural healers more.
  • World Concern has been investing in improving the maternal-child health of communities we work with through education campaigns, capacity building of parents and health workers, and nutrition kits.
  • Proposition: to create a home-based maternal-child health training technology that anyone in the household, even with a low literacy rate, can understand and comprehend.  Basic maternal child health, such as newborn care and proper feeding, are inclusive, gender-sensitive, and contextually appropriate.

Water and Sanitation

Problem #14: Collect and Study Data to See if there is a Connection Between Water Purification Packets and Waterborne Diseases in Hospital Admissions

Country/Region of execution:  Kenya and Brazil
Collaborating Organization:  ChildFund
ChildFund International works throughout Asia, Africa, and the Americas to connect children with the people, resources, and institutions they need to grow up healthy, educated, skilled, and safe. Our programs address the underlying conditions that prevent children and youth from achieving their full potential and, in 2021, reached 16.3 million children and family members.
Water and sanitation (WASH) are one of ChildFund’s key programs worldwide. One of ChildFund’s major external supporters of WASH programs is Procter and Gamble’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water (https://csdw.org/), which provides water purification sachets to ChildFund-supported populations and as part of P&G’s global program with like-minded organizations. ChildFund usually funds the community-based distribution and promotion of these sachets among these populations.
Problem Statement Description:  ChildFund has been receiving P&G’s support around the world for years, most notably in Kenya and Brazil, promoting clean drinking water.  However, there doesn’t appear to be much data on the success of these packets in preventing waterborne disease. Most of our measurement has been on the process (e.g., number of people served, number of packets distributed, etc.).  Our CO colleagues in Brazil tried unsuccessfully for the first time to connect the use of the water purification packets to waterborne disease-related hospital admissions. It would be helpful to complete a multi-arm experimental study comparing current methods against just the packets and the packets + sensitization to see how effective the different components of the intervention really are.  This study's results will improve the reach and impact of future ChildFund’s participation in this global P&G’s program.

Problem #15: Farmers are Facing Challenges of Salinity in the Cultivation of Crops

Country/Region of execution:  Bangladesh
Collaborating Organization:  World Concern
World Concern is a Christian global relief and development agency whose supporters’ faith compels them to extend opportunity and hope to people facing the most profound human challenges of extreme poverty: World Concern works in Africa, Asia, Haiti, and the Americas. Established in 1955, World Concern works to alleviate suffering among the poor in developing countries and to address the root causes in each context. World Concern works in multiple sectors to build the capacity of village-based groups, non-governmental partners, and other counterparts to lead and sustain their development. World Concern is committed to best practices of inclusive, participatory, and accountable relief and development and maintains rigorous financial and program monitoring standards. Program assistance is provided on the basis of need alone, without regard to race, creed, or religion.
Problem Statement Description:  Salinity Problem:  Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity; between 1991 and 2020, Bangladesh has faced 197 major disasters due to climate change. The crisis is more pronounced in the southwest coastal region. Economic crises, including food shortages, loss of livelihoods, health risks, malnutrition, and disease, are affecting the people of the southwest coast. The impacts of climate change are not gender-neutral, as they affect women and girls most because of societal norms, systematic inequalities, and distinctive reproductive obligations in Bangladesh. Numerous climatic hazards, namely flooding, droughts, and salinity intrusion, disrupt the food production system, disproportionately burdening girls and women with food insecurity.  The number of people displaced from their lands. Projections indicate Bangladesh, already one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change will likely face more frequent, larger-scale, and intensified floods, cyclones, and droughts. Bangladesh has prepared a National Action Plan on Climate Change stating that an investment of $230 billion is required for 27 years (2023–2050) based on the loss and damage forecast.  The Kalapara, Potuakhali, Bangladesh coastal belts are some of the nearest areas to the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh. This bay is one of the greatest sources of saline water. The total cultivable land is 49210.20 hectares, but only 645 hectares are usable for cultivation for three seasons. The saline intuition significantly impacted agriculture, and shrimp, along with watermelon, took the lead over other crops. Normal crop production is hampered by inadequate irrigation water sources, the unavailability of salt-tolerant crop varieties, the habitual cultivation of local varieties, climate change-related natural disasters, and insufficient locally adaptable technologies for mitigating salinity problems.  World Concern Bangladesh is operating one project named PARIBARTAN (a project on DRR, CCA, alternative livelihood, and reduction of GBV) [PARIBARTAN; a Bengali word to change or to transform something], WCB is working at Kalapara subdistrict of Patuakhali district of Bangladesh with farmers who are facing challenges of salinity in the cultivation of crops. Moreover, saline water damages houses and other materials. Drinking water is a problem for local people and outsiders of Kalapara, Patuakhali. It is gradually increasing due to climate change and several natural catastrophes in the community.