Gates Foundation Seeks Proposals to “Help Change the Narrative on Foreign Aid”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a call for communications proposals to “help change the narrative on foreign aid.”

For its first-ever Grand Challenges Explorations in communications, the Foundation plans to fund up to 10 “game-changing ideas” that creatively use communications to “motivate the public in the wealthy countries of the world to change their minds about aid, and take actions to demonstrate their support.”

What We are Looking For:

If we, as a global community, are to succeed in ending extreme hunger and poverty and improving the health of the poorest, we must find ground-breaking ways to gather and share stories of aid working well. We must bring the data behind those stories to life. And we must do it on a global scale, making it relevant to audiences who are wrestling with tough economic decisions at home.

The goal of this challenge is to solicit new approaches to communications that motivate the public in the wealthy countries of the world to change their minds about aid, and take actions to demonstrate their support.

We and others in the development community have traditionally focused on the “why” of aid. But most people already believe it is the right thing to do. We must do a better job of explaining the “how” and the “what” (How exactly does aid work? Where does the money go? How is it used? What impact does it have on communities?).

We want to find revolutionary ways to make these issues matter deeply to the global community. We’re inspired by projects that allow anyone – no matter where they live or what their background – to take part. We encourage projects that embrace the complexity of these issues. We admire work that surprises us with its emotional power, and that comes at the problem from entirely new angles.

Most importantly, we’re looking for game-changing ideas we might never imagine on our own, and that could revolutionize the field.

Phase I grants of $100,000 are awarded initially; projects have one opportunity to apply for a follow-on Phase II grant of up to $1,000,000.

Proposal deadline: Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 11:30 a.m. U.S. Pacific Daylight Time.

Additional information is available on the GrandChallenges.org website.

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