The Government of the Republic of Zambia and the United States of America Announce the Launch of the Innovation Grant Program

Lusaka. February 25, 2014.

Lusaka – The Government of the Republic of Zambia in partnership with the United States of America, acting through the Millennium Challenge Account Zambia (MCA-Zambia) and the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), are pleased to announce a water, sanitation, and drainage grant program that will open later this year. The U.S.-funded Millennium Challenge Compact Innovation Grant Program will solicit proposals from the private sector and support the best approaches to improve service delivery for clean water, sanitation, and drainage. The total amount committed under the program is US$10 million. The projects funded under the Innovation Grant Program will complement the Compact’s US$355 million Lusaka Water Supply, Sanitation and Drainage Project investment that commenced implementation of activities in November 2013.

The launch of the new grant program, which took place at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel today, included representatives of the Millennium Challenge Account Zambia (MCA-Zambia), the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company, and Lusaka City Council. Representatives of more than 25 private sector firms, civil society organizations, and non-governmental organizations also attended the launch.

Mr. Fredson Yamba, Secretary to the Treasury, Ms. Cassandra Butts, Senior Advisor to the CEO of MCC; Ms. Pamela Bwalya, CEO of MCA-Zambia, and Mr. Steve Marma, Resident Country Representative of MCC, led the launch.

During the launch of the Millennium Challenge Compact Innovation Grant Program, Secretary to the Treasury Yamba, who is also the Board Chairperson of MCA-Zambia, said:

“The Government of the Republic of Zambia has prioritized its citizens as main drivers for growth of the Zambian economy. This initiative is a case in point. We are placing Lusaka residents as indispensable co-participants in the development of their own living conditions. We would like to see more of such initiatives targeting our communities – where community members and organizations lead in order to ensure sustainability.”

The Innovation Grants Program will offer the private sector, including civil society and non-governmental organizations, universities, research institutions, and foundations in Zambia and around the globe, an opportunity to participate in a well-targeted water utility improvement program developed by Zambia and supported by the American people. Innovative initiatives funded by this grant program are expected to improve access to clean water and sanitation, improve overall community hygiene, support creative initiatives related to drainage and the removal of solid waste, and increase household incomes for people living in Lusaka. Ms. Butts, who is visiting from Washington, DC, spoke further of the importance of involving local community members:

“We strongly encourage women’s groups to participate in the development of innovative and sustainable approaches to improve service delivery through the Millennium Challenge Compact’s Innovation Grant Program. In particular, it is our hope that the private sector will present innovative projects that will improve women’s, children’s and other vulnerable groups’ access to clean water and sanitation services, as well as to directly support the involvement of women and youth in the innovations.”

The Millennium Challenge Compact Innovation Grant Program is being launched some months before the first call for proposals in order to provide adequate time for interested organizations to start conducting research, build alliances and come up with quality ideas that will operate in a sustainable manner. The call for proposals will be made public later this year.