Press Release: Swachh Maharashtra Grand Challenge moves to next phase

The Swachh Maharashtra Grand Challenge is first-of-its kind open innovation platform in collaboration with the private sector, development sector and government to pilot innovative and effective sanitation solutions in Maharashtra

March, 2019; Mumbai, India: Samhita Social Ventures, a leading CSR consultancy,  and the Government of Maharashtra had signed an MoU in the presence of Hon. Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis in July 2018 to setup the Corporate Engagement Platform for WASH and to execute its flagship project “Swachh Maharashtra Grand Challenge”. This was a tripartite agreement with Sahabhag, the CMO’s Social Responsibility Cell and the Water Supply and Support Organisation (WSSO).

In addition to the government, other partners supporting the WASH platform and the Swachh Maharashtra Grand Challenge include The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Secretariat funder), India Sanitation Coalition (Secretariat partner), UNICEF (Knowledge Partner), CEPT University (Knowledge Partner), Viacom18 (Corporate funder) and several other private and development sector organisations.

The Grand Challenge will identify, implement and scale innovations across the sanitation value chain. The first phase will pilot the innovations in the district of Chandrapur across the four themes of toilet usage, school sanitation, faecal sludge management and sanitation workers. Pilots which demonstrate success will be scaled and replicated to other districts of Maharashtra.

Since the MoU signing, with support from behavioural designers, sanitation experts and government officials a problem statement has been framed using principles of design thinking across the four themes.  The challenge will now invite innovative and effective solutions from organisations across India including NGOs, social enterprises, academic institutions, for-profit entities etc. A portal will allow organisations to submit the solutions which will then undergo a rigorous evaluation by an expert and diverse jury.

The Top 50 organisations will be registered on an e-marketplace, while the Top 20 solutions will be invited to funder forums conducted across Maharashtra. The Top 5 solutions will get access to raise grants for implementation, get capacity building support from a network of sanitation experts and receive on-ground implementation support from the Chandrapur government and community based social organisation.

Each corporate partner of the Grand Challenge will fund a particular theme within the sanitation value chain which is aligned closely to their core competency. The country’s youngest full-play media and entertainment organization, Viacom18, has also partnered Grand Challenge to support the toilet usage theme. Several other corporate partners including two large financial institutions and an energy company have already supported sanitation initiatives through the platform and many others are likely to support the initiative in the coming few days.

The call to application and the portal link will be circulated in the coming few days via social media handles, e-mails and other avenues by government and 20+ development sector partners.

For further details, please reach out to [email protected]