A one-of-a-kind honor

The OECD wants to honor ideas to improve the living conditions of people in the the poorest regions of the world. Photo by: Dan Mason / CC BY-NC-SA

Innovation doesn’t start with an idea. To make a difference, scaling up is crucial. And one organization will soon receive help from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee to do so.

“We will ring the bells and set off firecrackers” for the winner of the DAC Prize for Taking Development Innovation to Scale, OECD-DAC Chair Erik Solheim told Devex.

The award ceremony will take place during the annual DAC senior-level meeting this October in Paris, where bilateral aid chiefs and their advisers gather to discuss policy and practice, including the revamp of what we call official development assistance.

The prize doesn’t come with any monetary benefits. But the winner should expect a lot of publicity.

To compete, an organization, whether from civil society or the public sector — including international bodies like United Nations agencies and the World Bank — must showcase an innovative idea that addresses a specific development challenge or gap, evidence of its impact, action or commitment to scaling up the idea and prospects of scalability. A jury comprising development luminaries and leading innovators will select the winner.

The prize is designed to drum up more support for innovations that can help to eradicate poverty once and for all.

“If someone comes up with an innovative idea, which is recognized with such a prize, we will definitely encourage our members to do more of that, spend more money on it, give it recognition, give it publicity,” Solheim said.

Innovations, Solheim noted, were the seed for big success stories in development over the last few years. He gave the examples of like Brazil’s Bolsa Familia, vaccine schemes supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others, and the initiative on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.  

“We always need to be innovative, to do things smarter and more efficiently,” he said. “We want to encourage people to be innovative and try new ways of doing it.”

What do you think of this award? Tell us by leaving a comment below and read our previous #innov8aid.

About the author

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    Ma. Eliza Villarino

    Currently based in New York City, Eliza is a veteran journalist focused on covering the most pressing issues and latest innovations in global health, humanitarian aid, sustainability and development. A member of Mensa, Eliza has earned a master's degree in public affairs and bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the Philippines.