Grand Challenges Canada to invest up to $7.9 million in 40 health innovations in India


Health innovations in India are set to get a huge boost with Grand Challenges Canada announcing funding in tune of $7.9 million in 40 health related innovations in the country.

The funding by Grand Challenges Canada will be supported and complemented by dozens of partners and this effectively will take the funding to $12.3 million, reports indicate.

Of the 40 innovations, three are geared towards empowering and protecting women and girls in rural areas while also protecting and preserving their human dignity. One of the innovations involves the country’s first ever 100 per cent compostable menstrual pad. The innovation is the result of work by Aakar Innovations. The funding will help expand and sale the operations of the company behind compostable menstrual pad to three states in India and in the process empower 80,000 rural women and girls by providing them menstrual hygiene and education. Another such innovation – biodegradable menstrual pads – has also received funding.

Women entrepreneurs in rural villages in India will be empowered to sell affordable, quality menstrual pads through a door-to-door, subscription-based delivery service. The project aims to increase the adoption of quality menstrual pads and safe disposal practices among women and girls in rural India. (ayzh – Mumbai, India – $100,000)

Girls without access to menstrual health information and products face shame and miss school or drop out altogether because of their period, putting them at a financial and educational disadvantage compared to boys.

Other projects supported by today’s announcement will provide support to women entrepreneurs, promote better nutrition for young women and mothers, and improve the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls in India. Eight of the projects are scaling up through large, “Transition to Scale” investments, having already successfully demonstrated ways to improve health.

Grand Challenges Canada applauds the Government of Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy, which applies a human rights approach and advances gender equality to promote equal rights for women and girls as the most effective way to reduce poverty.
Grand Challenges Canada and the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology are partners in the global family of Grand Challenges initiatives, fostering innovation to solve key health and development problems.

Said Dr. Peter A. Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada: “We thank the Government of Canada for its commitment to supporting innovative solutions focused on vulnerable populations and empowering women and girls. Canada’s ongoing global leadership supporting women and girls in low- and middle-income countries will help drive progress toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal Five: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”


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