DAC Prize



Deadline for submission is 30 April 2015.



The last decades have seen unprecedented development progress in all regions of the world. The eradication of extreme poverty looks set to be a central development goal for the post-2015 period, as mankind has the resources and technologies to achieve this goal for the first time in human history.

A key contribution in closing remaining development gaps will have to come from innovative solutions that can be taken to scale. Aware of this, many development partners have increased their focus on and support for innovation that can offer solutions for development challenges. A wealth of innovative ideas have been conceived, developed and trialed over the last years.



The DAC Prize for Taking Development Innovation to Scale is awarded for taking an innovative approach, instrument, mechanism beyond the pilot phase to a wider application.

The objective of the Prize is to promote the scaling-up of innovations that address important development gaps. Scalability is usually a key criterion for support to innovation by development partners. So far, however, there has been very limited uptake of such innovative solutions beyond the pilot or trial phase and little discernible systematic effort to take them to scale.

With this prize, the DAC wants to acknowledge development actors who take the step from supporting innovation to using it systematically and strategically to address development challenges, by taking it to scale. We hope that this will motivate the more systematic use of innovative development solutions which have proven that they work. Ultimately, the prize should help scalable, innovative solutions to gain broader traction in the development community and encourage donors and other development stakeholders to increase their support. Fundamentally, this is about investing into what works, and encouraging more of this.



The prize will take the form of a public award that bestows visibility and official recognition on the winning entries. It does not include a monetary or material reward. At the same time, the prize may contribute to mobilizing additional resources for the development solutions highlighted by the winning entries.



The DAC Prize jury is composed of ten distinguished individuals:

  • K.Y. Amoako, President, African Center for Economic Transformation
  • Julius O. Akinyemi, Resident Entrepreneur at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab
  • Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director for the Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution
  • Geoff Lamb, Chief Economic and Policy Advisor to the co-Chairs and CEO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Dato Lee Yee Cheong, Chairman, International Science Technology and Innovation Center for South-South Cooperation (ISTIC), Malaysia
  • H.E. Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Development and Cooperation, United Arab Emirates
  • Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Head of the President's Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight, Republic of Indonesia
  • Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell, MP, House of Commons, United Kingdom
  • Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka, Director General, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SIDA
  • Andrew Wyckoff, Director, Science, Technology and Industry Department, OECD
  • Raj Kumar, Devex founding president and editor-in-chief and Chair of the World Economic’s Forum Global Agenda Council on Humanitarian Response.


Read more about the DAC Prize award criteria and selection. Download the application form here. And for spanish information and form.

Katalyst from Bangladesh was the worthy winner of the DAC Prize 2014. The winner shows how very simple business ideas can have a big impact on people’s lives. The Katalyst concept is based on providing high-quality seeds in mini-packets to low-income farmers as a means of helping to increase their income. Over three seasons, the number of beneficiaries doubled and 14 million dollars’ worth of additional vegetables were produced. This success has encouraged more seed companies to introduce mini-packets. Katalyst is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation, the UK Department for International Development, the Danish International Development Agency, the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ), the foundation Swisscontact and the Bangladesh Ministry of Commerce.

The DAC Prize received almost 50 fantastic submissions in our first year. Amongst the finalist were a range of financial innovations. Aavishkar II is an Indian social venture fund that provides risk financing to social entrepreneurs. The Kwara State Community Health Insurance Programme have helped provide health insurance for 80 000 families. Nomanini is a company providing cash-based micro payments and prepaid mobile services to people without access to banking services. The Polio Eradication Project in Pakistan works through a loan conversion financing mechanism that repays Pakistan’s investments when polio eradication targets are met.

Other finalists focus on the importance of ensuring quality education now that more than 90% of children are enrolled in school. The ASER Annual Status of Education Report is a citizen-led household survey of education covering every rural area in India. Bridge International Academies provides quality affordable education while covering operational costs, teacher salaries and text books from student fees. Camfed International supports girls completing secondary education and transitioning to getting a job. The Employment Fund Programme in Nepal provides skills training to 15 000 people and ensures market incentives for companies training for women and vulnerable groups. Finally, Evidence Action uses chlorination, which is cheap and effective, to provide access to safer water for 1.5 million people. Evidence Action has focused on scaling up a simple technology that becomes accepted and used regularly by the local community.

Read more here.

dev week 2014 DEVEX logo 60px is the media partner of the DAC Prize.

Deadline for submissions is 30 April 2015.



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