YLab Almasi Challenge (Up to $120,000 in grants) For Kenyans

Deadline: March 6, 2020.

Do you have a BIG idea to tackle HIV amongst young MSM in Kenya?

YLabs wants to help you build it! YLabs, in partnership with ViiV Healthcare Positive Action Programme, is launching an exciting opportunity for youth-centered organizations working with young men who have sex with men (MSM) ages 15-24 years in Kenya. Selected organizations will receive capacity-building in human-centered design to refine their solution idea and have the opportunity to win up to USD $120,000 to test, implement, and evaluate their innovative solution. Submit your idea by March 6, 2020.

The Problem

HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kenya is almost four times that of the general adult population. Among the respondents reporting to have tested HIV positive, 30% of MSM are not currently taking antiretroviral therapy (ART). Additionally, this community reports high levels of physical and sexual violence, as well as arrest and harassment by law enforcement officials. MSM are stigmatized and marginalized in the healthcare system. This key population is at increased risk of infection due to factors such as discrimination and the stigmatization of same-sex sexual activity. There is an urgent need for innovative solutions that meet the particular needs of the MSM population across the spectrum of HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.

The Almasi Challenge: A Call for New Ideas and Innovators

  • In order to foster innovative new approaches, YLabs and the Viiv Healthcare Positive Action Programme have launched the Almasi Challenge. 
  • We are looking for innovative Kenyan organizations with bold new ideas to increase testing, linkage, and retention in HIV care for young Kenyan men who have sex with men (MSM) in the 15-24 age range. 
  • Proposed solutions must be courageous, transformational and ‘outside-the-box’. They must have the potential to make a substantial impact to improve access to HIV prevention, testing, and/or treatment services for young MSM in Kenya.

How The Almasi Challenge Works

  • Phase 1 (March-June 2020): Any eligible organization may submit an application by Friday, March 6, 2020. Up to six finalists will be selected to receive intensive mentorship, hands-on skills training in human-centered design, and resources to help them push their idea to the next level.
  • Phase 2 (starts July 2020): After evolving and improving their idea through testing with users, each finalist will make an in-person pitch to a judging panel in Nairobi. The winning organization will receive up to US$120,000. In addition, the winning organization will receive design and evaluation support from YLabs to build and implement their innovation.

How is this different from a traditional Request for Proposals?

  • We are interested in your idea, but we are more interested in YOU as an organization. We are looking for participants who are creative, flexible, and excited to learn new techniques of innovative solution development alongside the other selected organizations. 
  • Your idea is very likely to change and evolve through this process. In fact, we expect it to! If you are selected to participate in the Almasi Challenge, you will receive intensive training and guidance in how to quickly yet rigorously evolve your idea based on user feedback. 
  • Being selected to participate in the Almasi Challenge does not guarantee that you will receive funding for solution implementation. All selected organizations for Phase 1 will receive intensive capacity-building from YLabs and a small stipend for one representative to attend the training. Only one organization will be selected to receive funding and technical support for pilot implementation (Phase 2).

Timeline Overview

  • February 19, 2020 6:30pm EAT
    Webinar for potential applicants to address any questions about the Almasi Challenge and application process. Register for the webinar here.
    Note: Participation in the webinar is optional, and not required in order to be considered. 
  • March 6, 2020, 5 pm EAT
    Applications to participate in the Almasi Challenge are due
  • March 20 (estimated)
    Notifications of selection. Up to six finalists will be selected to participate.
  • March 27 -April 3 (exact date TBD)
    Kickoff conference call with the selected finalists
  • May 18-June 6 (estimated)
    In-person intensive capacity-building training for the finalists
  • July 20-25
    Finalists refine and pitch their evolved solutions to a judging panel at the Almasi Innovation Lab (Nairobi)
  • August 1 (estimated)
    Almasi Challenge winner announced
  • September 2020
    The winning organization prepares for multi-month pilot implementation of the solution, with support of YLabs (Exact length of the pilot will be determined based on the needs of the winning organization and their solution)

Key applicant criteria

Applicant organizations must:

  • Be a registered non-profit or charity, non-governmental organization (NGO) or community-based organization (CBO) in Kenya
  • Be an active organization with employed staff and designated financial controllers
  • Have a demonstrated track record of working with the MSM population, particularly youth, in Kenya
  • Have at least one staff member who will be available for in May 2020 for three weeks of intensive training in Nairobi or Kisumu, if selected to participate

Instructions To Apply

  1. Review the eligibility criteria to ensure that you qualify
  2. Please fill out all the questions directly into the PDF document. All questions must be typed and legible. 
  3. If you are not able to open the PDF, please email shola.dada@ylabsglobal.org to request an MS Word document.
  4. Make sure to sign the document on the last page. If you have trouble signing it electronically, you may print the form, sign, and scan in.
  5. Make sure to send your application as a PDF file via email to shola.dada@ylabsglobal.org by 5:00 pm EAT on Friday, March 6, 2020.

Download PDF Application

Post Author: Akom Nya

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