Handwashing challenge






In a humanitarian crisis, handwashing with soap has proven to be one of the most critical and effective interventions to reduce infectious diseases causing death. However, increasing and improving handwashing is difficult and needs innovation!

To tackle this, we are launching a new challenge for improving handwashing practices in emergency settings. We are inviting
teams with the most promising ideas to an innovation sprint event in the UK at the end of June 2016. Following the event, all teams will have the opportunity to apply for grant funding of up to £200,000.

We have identified three challenges which each address a different theme within handwashing to encourage teams to focus their efforts. Below you will find the statements describing each challenge. We can’t wait to see what you develop!

challenge themes


Icons_with writing_HANDSIcons_with writing_SOAP-01Icons_with writing_TAP-02









challenge handbook
Download our Challenge Handbook which outlines each
of the three
challenge areas and the process.

CH button-02


how it works




We are calling for innovators from all fields to develop and submit ideas for improving handwashing practices in emergency settings. Participants can choose to respond to one of the three challenge statements described on the website and in this handbook with entirely new ideas, or improvements for existing concepts.

After reviewing the applications, the most promising teams will be invited, all expenses paid, to a two-day innovation sprint event at the end of June. At the innovation sprint, teams will receive expert, multi-disciplinary guidance to build and strengthen their initial idea. Following the event all teams can submit a funding proposal for final consideration.

We encourage everyone to take this unique opportunity to work with experts and innovators, to meet the HIF team and implementing humanitarian agencies, and to refine their ideas before submitting a final proposal. The winning teams to attend the innovation sprint will be announced on 7 June.

Take a look at our Frequently Asked questions:


Are you eligible?

  • Any team with a feasible idea which directly addresses one of the three handwashing challenge statements
    with a focus on emergency settings can apply
  • Up to three applications are possible, either with different ideas for the same challenge or different ideas
    addressing different challenges
  • Applications can be made by organisations or teams; we encourage teams to have at least three team
    members. Each application requires one lead applicant.


This challenge is now closed.



Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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