Applications ongoing for the OpenIDEO COVID-19 Global South Health and Livelihoods Challenge 2020

Deadline: September 10, 2020

Submit your idea for the OpenIDEO COVID-19 Global South Health and Livelihoods Challenge 2020. The challenge calls for scalable solutions to support low- and middle-income families in the urban Global South, so they can adapt and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications ongoing for the OpenIDEO COVID-19 Global South Health and Livelihoods Challenge 2020

The challenge of COVID-19 for low- and middle-income families in the urban Global South represents a confluence of many challenges in one. According to the IPI Global Observatory, the Global South has “the highest rates of COVID-19 in the world, a lack of adequate access to healthcare, and a large emerging middle class that is at risk of sliding back into poverty.” Statistics from the region only compound the gravity of this reality. For example: 

  • According to a report recently published by ECLAC United Nations, the poverty rate in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to jump by 4.4% in 2020, translating into about 30 million of people who had entered the middle class, moving backwards into poverty. 
  • A majority of the population in countries like Peru (76%), Colombia (74%), Brasil (80%), South Africa (64.3%) live in urban areas, and many of them live in multi-generational households. People living in close quarters and the urban density puts older adults and those with underlying medical conditions at even higher risk.
  • Many lower- and middle-income cities and communities are living in substandard and poorly ventilated buildings, making diseases easier to spread. Many lack access to clean water, basic sanitation, and regular electricity. Often, those who commute for work rely on crowded public transportation, where there is high risk of disease transfer. 

The nexus of these urgent realities has led them to ask:How might we support low- and middle-income families in the Global South to stay healthy while maintaining a sustainable livelihood during the COVID-19 pandemic?


  • Prize funds and support will be available to up to 10 Top Ideas. Additionally, Top Ideas will be invited to pitch their concepts to leadership from Intercorp to be considered for additional investment and implementation.
  • Select ideas may also have the opportunity to be coached by La Victoria Lab, Intercorp’s innovation lab, to explore pathways for implementation.


  • Open to entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists, students, private and public sector organizations, nonprofits, and others working anywhere in the Global South or with a deep understanding of the context in which communities in the region are operating.
  • They welcome innovative ideas that demonstrate a deep understanding of low- and middle-income families in urban areas in the Global South and of those who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • They are accepting all stages of innovations, from initial design stage to full scale rollout.
  • Anyone is able to submit to the Challenge, whether you are an individual, a team, or a registered organization.

Selection Criteria

All submitted concepts should have a clear hypothesis underlying the proposed approach to improve the lives of emerging low- and middle-income urban communities in the Global South during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Top Idea must be:

  • Scalable: Outlines how their approach would work within existing systems or what change would need to occur within these for their approach to be effective.
  • Innovative: Takes a new approach to the problem, or uses an existing approach in a new way.
  • Adaptable: Can flexibly respondto the frequent changes made to the healthcare restrictions established by governments due to COVID-19. The idea considers the rapidly shifting government policies and economic realities that might influence end users within the context they are being implemented.
  • Desirable: Answers a specific need and demonstrates a deep understanding of the context of the proposed solution and the needs oflow- and middle-income urban communities in the Global South.
  • Viable: Clearly describes how the solution will be implemented, outlining the needs for piloting to happen. 
  • Feasible: Articulates how the proposed solution will overcome potential barriers to implementation.


Submit your idea, concept, startup, or organization at any stage of development. This Challenge will be accepting ideas until September 10, 2020 at 5:00pm ET.

Click here to apply

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