Shaping the future: Our strategy for research and innovation in humanitarian response.

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Global estimates indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime (AoR Helpdesk 2020). This rate can be much higher in emergencies as IPV can be exacerbated by factors such as worsening poverty and social fragmentation, as well as the collapse of public services.

The overwhelming global burden of IPV falls on women and girls. It can affect women of all ages and results in short and long-term physical, sexual and reproductive, and mental health problems that can be severe and life-threatening.

This Innovation Challenge aims to support the development of innovative IPV response interventions that meet the needs of and maintain the safety and security of women and girls in humanitarian settings. Projects will also be expected to gather evidence on the indicative effectiveness of their response interventions, and provide clear learnings which could inform other IPV interventions.

The Problem

IPV is one of the most prevalent forms of gender-based violence (GBV) in humanitarian settings. Research has consistently found that prevalence rates of IPV perpetrated against women and girls in conflict-affected settings are higher than rates of non-partner sexual violence. Population-based studies have found, for example, IPV rates to range from 54-73% in South Sudan, 68% in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 53% in Occupied Palestinian Territories (What Works to Prevent Violence, 2018).

Despite this, there are limited resources allocated to IPV interventions, as the majority of the already-stretched resources for GBV are channeled towards prevention and/or response to conflict-related sexual violence (AoR Helpdesk 2020). This means that, although evidence suggests that there is a high prevalence of IPV in humanitarian settings, specialist programmes are not always available due to limited capacity and resources. Whilst IPV prevention research and programming in humanitarian settings has grown in the past few years, IPV response has received less attention.

Although scarce, the few reviews of IPV response programmes available indicate that there are a number of gaps in service delivery. These include limited direct engagement with women and girls, lack of coordinated, multi-sectoral response, unexplored avenues for change with many programmes focusing on social norm change and limited contextualisation.

Garment workers participating in a educational session with Change Associates. Photo credit: Reemi

The Challenge

We’re looking to fund innovative IPV response interventions that meet the needs of and maintain the safety and security of women and girls in humanitarian settings.

Get the full details in the Challenge Handbook

For further information about the Challenge, assessment criteria, expected deliverables and application timelines, as well as a glossary of key terms, please read the Challenge Handbook.

Read the Challenge Handbook

Challenge Handbook in accessible formats

The Challenge Handbook above is an accessible PDF, but it is also available in EPUB format.

If you require any Challenge materials in an alternative format please contact us.


How do I apply?

To apply for the Challenge, fill out the Expression of Interest (EOI) via our Common Grants Application platform.

Already have an account? Login to start an application

Don’t have an account? Sign up to open an account and start an application.

What is the total funding for the Challenge?

We have a total budget of 500,000 GBP available for this Innovation Challenge.

From this, we envisage funding a selection of IPV response interventions with varying budgets, generally between 50,000 and 175,000 GBP per project. Please consider the range provided as suggestive, and align proposed budgets and timelines with your project’s ambition.

Each project is expected to last between 12 and 21 months; all project-related activities must be completed by 30 November 2022 without the possibility of extension. The total duration of projects should cover all project activities including any adaptation/development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, as well as sharing learning and uptake.

For details about the funding for this Challenge, see the Funding section in the Challenge Handbook.

What is the rate that overheads can be included at?

Overheads may be included up to 10% of the direct costs listed in the budget. They should not exceed this amount, nor be calculated as a percentage of both the direct and indirect costs combined.

For more information, please see the Eligible Costs Guidance document on our Application Guidance page.

What are the timelines?

The Challenge opens on 8 July 2020. The deadline for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) is 7 August 2020 (23:59 BST). Apply via the Common Grant Application platform.

For further information about the application process and timelines, see the Challenge Handbook.

Who can apply?

We welcome applications from any legally registered entity (eg, INGO, NGO, UN, academic, private company). Your application must include a partnership with at least one operational humanitarian organisation and a local organisation with experience providing services that specifically support women and girls (either organisation could be the lead, or a single organisation could represent both). Applicants are not expected to have confirmed partnerships in place for the EOI stage, but will be expected to provide evidence to demonstrate partnerships by the Full Proposal stage – such as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or similar.

Our portfolio of funded innovations reflects the wider bias in the humanitarian sector where funding is mainly allocated to larger, international organisations, likely to be based in places not usually affected by emergencies. To address this imbalance, we are working to better localise our funding and support, and to increase the number of grants we award to organisations with headquarters in regions affected by crisis and especially to women-led civil society organisations. With this in mind, we strongly encourage applications from and partnerships with women-led organisations and organisations based in regions affected by crisis to apply and to reach out to us with any questions.

For further information about requirements and success criteria, see the Challenge Handbook.

I’d like to submit proposals to more than one Challenge, is that accepted?

Applicants are welcome to submit proposals to any of the open Innovation Challenges.

One organisation can apply for more than one Challenge. One organisation may also submit multiple applications to the same Challenge.

However, please note that you may only have one application in progress in the Common Grant Application system at a time. You can either:

  • Prepare your applications offline using the ‘Key offline questions’ word document. Then for each application you can paste your answers into CGA and submit one application at a time.
  • Create a new log in for each application.

For help using CGA please watch this video.

How will the funding call take into account potential difficulties arising from COVID-19?

We know that the global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted ‘business as usual’ operations in many humanitarian settings, and for many humanitarian organisations and responders. We’re confident that the problems set out in this Innovation Challenge are still relevant, solutions are still needed and that progress towards developing them can still be made. We encourage you to share any specific considerations or potential adaptations to your approach in response to the current global context in your application.

Can proposed innovations be implemented as part of Covid-19 response activities?

One of our core criteria is for your innovation to be implemented in a humanitarian setting (see glossary in the Handbook for more detail). We recognise that in existing humanitarian settings there may now be new or amended humanitarian programming to prevent and respond to Covid-19. Innovations implemented as part of Covid-19 response activities in an existing humanitarian setting will be eligible. Implementation as part of Covid-19 response activities outside of an existing humanitarian setting, ie in the general population of a country, is not eligible.

What level of innovation should my intervention be at?

You will be expected to generate learnings on the effectiveness of your intervention and/or improved performance compared to current practice by the end of the funding period. Given the project timelines, this can be indicative effectiveness. This means that, while we expect projects to be at different levels of development when applying (eg, from early stage ideas to existing interventions in need of adaptations), you will be expected to justify how you will be able to speak to the (indicative) effectiveness of your IPV intervention by the end of the grant period.

Are you able to facilitate collaborations?

Where possible, we will support applicants search for partners, but we are not able to commit to securing partners for applicants. If you have a particular type of partner in mind, get in touch with us and we will see how we can help.

Still have questions?

We’re here to help. For any questions that are not covered by the Challenge Handbook or FAQ section, please email us at, referencing ‘IPV Response Challenge’ in the subject line.

Video: Everything you need to know

Want to know more? In this short explainer video we’ll share:

  • An overview of the Challenge
  • What we’re looking for
  • Key criteria and how to apply
Play video

Banner image: taken from R2HC-funded study Adaptation and Evaluation of a Disaster Mental Health Intervention for Earthquake Survivors in Kathmandu Valley. Credit: University of Colorado

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