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Incontinence is a complex health and social issue that is often overlooked in humanitarian settings. In stable high-income contexts, this health issue is reported for one in four women and one in ten men (Giles-Hansen, 2015).

In humanitarian settings, because of the additional trauma, stress and potential injuries, the prevalence of incontinence is likely to be significantly higher.

The Problem

In humanitarian settings, incontinence could restrict access to essential services such as distributions of food, water or health services, or restrict the ability to meaningfully participate in decision-making processes, leading to further social exclusion and vulnerability.

Incontinence management has recently started getting attention in the humanitarian sector, most noticeably in conversations about sanitation materials (House, 2016). However, there is still little information about the experiences of and barriers faced by people living with incontinence when it comes to accessing relevant services and meaningfully participating in needs assessments, and in the design, implementation and evaluation of WASH humanitarian programmes.

The aim of this Challenge is to build on existing evidence and insights to further understand the barriers to inclusion that people living with incontinence face, so that more holistic, effective and inclusive WASH programmes can be developed.

Photo from QRCS's project 'User-Centred Sanitation Design Through Rapid Community Engagement'. Photo Credit: Sleiman Al Sumairy

The Challenge

We’re looking to understand the experiences of people living with incontinence and the barriers they face to inclusion in WASH humanitarian programming: including needs assessments, programme design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E).

Projects will be at the Problem Recognition stage of the innovation process and will aim to provide a comprehensive and developed understanding of the barriers to inclusion faced by people living with incontinence in a specific humanitarian context.

Get the full details in the Challenge Handbook

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

Read now


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 £100,000 available for this Challenge. From this, we envisage funding a selection of projects with varying budgets; ideally in the range of £30,000 to £70,000 per project. The projects will run for between 12 and 18 months and the total duration should cover both implementation and dissemination.

The proposed budgets and timelines should align with the level of ambition of each individual project within the Challenge parameters. Each solution will be assessed on its own merit and potential for impact: this means that both smaller and larger projects will be on an equal footing when being evaluated.

Please note that the grant amount requested at EOI stage can be indicative. Detailed budget plans will be requested at the full proposal stage.

What are the timelines?

The Challenge launches on 23 May 2019. The deadline for expressions of interest (EOIs) is 23 June 2019 (23:59 BST). Apply via the Common Grants Application platform.

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

Who can apply?

We welcome applications from any legally registered entity (eg, INGO, NGO, UN, academic, private company). Successful applicants must work in partnership with a humanitarian actor. Wherever it is possible, applicants should develop meaningful partnerships with local organisations to support implementation; in particular, with local humanitarian actors and civil society groups (organisations of people with disabilities (OPDs) and older people’s associations (OPAs) ). Any partnerships can be indicative at the Expression of Interest (EOI) stage but must be formalised when your full application is submitted if your proposal is shortlisted.

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

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 ‘Incontinence Management Challenge’ in the subject line.

Helpful Tools & Research

Tool Innovation Management

Humanitarian Innovation Guide

Tool COVID-19, Water, sanitation & hygiene

WASH Innovation Catalogue

Report Water, sanitation & hygiene

Gap Analysis in Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion


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