CALL FOR PROPOSALS
The Data for Development Innovation Fund
The Data for Development in Nepal (D4D) Program invites proposals from interested and eligible organizations for the Data for Development Innovation Fund.
Nepal transitioned to federalism with the adoption of a new constitution in 2015, implemented through elections in 2017, 2018, and 2022 has changed the development landscape within a short span of its implementation. With the power devolved via the constitution to provincial and local governments, the federalism model also expects an improvement in the social, economic, and infrastructural sectors both at the local and regional levels. Especially, the provinces are anticipated to bridge national and local needs. However, provincial development still lingers around various issues related to resources, capacity, law/policy, and others. Amid these challenges, the demand for and effective use of evidence/data has significantly increased across various sectors for social and economic changes. However, the quality of data and evidence available at provincial and local government levels is often poor or non-existent.
Data is immensely crucial in many ways; it is vital for governments to make evidence-based decisions on policy, budgets and services, for citizens to engage with government and hold them accountable and for civil society to target their programs and measure progress towards development goals. It is also equally important for companies to develop new innovations and make investment decisions, for Nepal’s youth to excel in their studies and fully realize their potential in society, and many more. However, in Nepal, such data is not always available or accessible to the people who need it and there are not always the skills and tools in place to support them to use the data.
Despite the growing recognition of open data as an important tool for enabling effective, transparent and accountable development, there continue to be challenged in the widespread use of data for development. To address these challenges there needs to be an enabling policy environment to support data sharing and use; greater awareness among development stakeholders of the value of data; a ready supply of open data in useable formats; data literacy skills among development stakeholders; tools to support the use of data; and examples of impact to encourage data use.
In recognition of this, the Data for Development in Nepal (D4D) Program invites proposals from organizations with ideas for innovations that can support the improved use of data for development at three provinces: Lumbini, Karnali, and Madesh province.
About the Data for Development Program
The Data for Development Innovation Fund is being managed by The Asia Foundation and Development Initiatives under their Data for Development in Nepal (D4D) Program with funding from UK Aid. This second phase of the programme aims to develop data and information ecosystems at the provincial and local spheres with local stakeholders who have the knowledge and capabilities to demand, produce and use data for evidence-based decision-making that addresses local development challenges.
About the Data for Development Innovation Fund
Through the Data for Development Innovation Fund, locally-led innovations that improve the use of (open) data to address development challenges will be supported. In addition to funding, awardees of the Innovation Fund will receive strategic guidance to support the development of sustainable, user-centered and problem-focussed innovations that are well-placed to demonstrate impact. Through this, the D4D Program aims to strengthen local leadership and momentum on the (open) data for development agenda and support the development of new solutions, approaches, tools, skills and datasets. The Innovation Fund ultimately aims to improve the use of data in Nepal to inform decision-making, target interventions, monitor progress, improve accountability and evaluate development outcomes.
The Data for Development Innovation Fund Awards
The Data for Development Innovation Fund award will be divided between 3 projects- one project for each province. Awards made under the Data for Development Innovation Fund will be for a maximum of USD10,000 per project. Funding will be awarded based on a two-stage process:
- Feasibility Assessment Phase: Successful applicants will be required to conduct a feasibility assessment to assess and demonstrate project feasibility, amount no more than USD1000, with the delivery of the Feasibility Assessment Report. The Feasibility Assessment Phase may take a maximum of 3 weeks from the initial agreement. If the D4D Program deems the Feasibility Assessment Report to have demonstrated the full feasibility of the innovation, funding for the Implementation and Review stage will be agreed. If project feasibility has not been clearly demonstrated then further funding will not be awarded. The Feasibility Assessment Phase will include a detailed review of assumptions in the theory of change; whether similar proposed projects already exist or are being planned; the likelihood of data being officially used or shared; potential for partnerships; an in-depth analysis of user needs; development of a sustainability plan; development of impact indicators; detailed planning of project activities; and the identification of lessons and insights from similar initiatives in other contexts. Strategic guidance will be offered to the awardees to support the Feasibility Assessment Phase.
- Implementation and Review Phase: Under a contractual agreement with The Asia Foundation, the selected project will be awarded for the Implementation and Review Phase. The timeframe for this Phase must not exceed four months and must be completed by March 2023. As part of this Phase the awardees will need to evaluate the success of their innovation and demonstrate plans for sustainability of impact.
The Data for Development Innovation Fund Assessment Criteria
Assessment of the applications will be based on the strength of the idea, its ability to lead to impact, and the feasibility of implementation. Applications must relate to innovations aimed at improving the use of data for development. Applications are expected to demonstrate the following:
- Use of a problem-driven approach: The proposals will need to identify a specific development challenge and articulate how this can be addressed through data, and how the proposed interventions will enable this.
- Adoption of a user-centered focus: The proposals will need to outline the target data users, what their data needs are, and how they will use data to address the articulated development challenge.
- Level of innovativeness: The proposed interventions will need to be a novel activity, approach, or technology that has not yet been undertaken in Nepal to improve the use of data. This may include a new type of action research, new ways of conducting policy engagement or awareness raising, activities for engaging new data users, new tools to enable the use of data etc.
- Contribution strategic, long-term or widespread impact: The proposals will need to consider sustainability (and scalability if appropriate) of impact beyond the timeframe of the funding and how strategic involvement with other stakeholders can support this. The innovation also needs to demonstrate how the result will have a positive impact on people’s lives especially youth, marginalized communities, people with disabilities and gender minorities.
- Value for money: The proposals will need to demonstrate value for money based on economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
Who can apply?
Nepali civil society organisations, civic tech organizations, academic organisations, companies, and media organisations can apply. The Data for Development Innovation Fund is for organisations who do not have alternative sources of funding (such as unrestricted grant funding or re-investable profit) available to them to take forward their ideas. An organization may propose more than one idea, but the Innovation Fund will support only one innovation per organization.
Applicants must have a strong commitment to the principle of data as a public good and ensure their innovations do not lead to any restrictions on the sharing or use of data. By accepting funding from the Data for Development Innovation Fund, awardees are expected to incorporate strategic guidance from The Asia Foundation and Development Initiatives throughout the project and secure formal permissions and/or agreements where other stakeholders are involved (e.g. government or NGO partners). If the Feasibility Assessment Phase is deemed successful and implementation funding awarded, the awardee is expected to continue the contractual agreement with The Asia Foundation that lays out a mutually agreed set of activities, deliverables, and timeframe; conduct monitoring and impact evaluation throughout and after the project period; and communicate on project progress regularly in person and in writing. Please note that payment of funds will be based on the reimbursement of actuals.
Interested to apply?
The application must be submitted by November 27, 2022.