Service Innovation Fund

Enabling whole-of-society to innovate

Engage and empower the whole of Bangladeshi society to co-create novel solutions to development challenges and boost their chances of making impact at scale. Show more

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nnovators are faced with significant challenges

A tech-based startup wanted to design a technology that allowed students to access multimedia content in communities still off the electricity grid. A local non-profit social development organization, working with disability rights, wanted to convert national curriculum text books available in Bangla into accessible education content for visually impaired children and slow learners. A government entity wanted to automate the system for applying for and receiving environment clearance certificate. And a local innovator with his team wanted to develop their own version of 3D printers that could manufacture artificial limbs and any small scale prototype at much less time and cost than their foreign counterparts.

These innovative ideas faced a few common obstacles –

  • The innovators did not have the funds to develop complete prototypes
  • They could not test the efficacy of the prototypes with real users or beneficiaries

Service Innovation Fund as solution to these challenges

a2i’s Service Innovation Fund (SIF) was designed to address these challenges. It provides seed funds and incubates cost-effective, user-centric, home-grown innovations to solve some of the most important problems affecting underserved communities.

SIF also sets itself apart from other ‘innovation funds’ by:

  • Co-investing with the innovators in bringing their ideas to life
  • Providing mentorship support and access to citizen-beneficiaries to refine the prototypes and make them more user-centric
  • Supporting innovators through liaising with relevant partners from both the public and private sectors for effective project implementation, successful scale up and sustainability

To date, SIF has attracted 3,000+ innovative proposals, using an online platform called Idea Bank and granted over a quarter million dollars to government agencies, development organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic institutions, private companies and even individuals.

Whole-of-society doing development innovation

As a result, Bangladesh now has solar-powered multimedia classrooms being setup in all off-grid locations; DAISY standard multimedia talking books for use by visually impaired students and slow learners covering education content for classes 1 through 8; an online application system for Environment Clearance Certificate; and a 3D printer which has already been used to print artificial limbs for disabled children whose parents are too poor to afford conventional prosthetics.

Facts & Figures


3000+


Online Proposals

133


Awardees

17


Development Sectors

$2.7


Million Awarded

Cases and Stories


cases-stories-1

E-specialized services for people with disabilities

Rahim, a 14 year old blooming child suffered from a fatal accident at earlier age. His left side of the body has been paralyzed. “When I woke up, everything was…

E-specialized services for people with disabilities

Rahim, a 14 year old blooming child suffered from a fatal accident at earlier age. His left side of the body has been paralyzed. “When I woke up, everything was the same except my body.” Rahim broke in tears. “I lost control over my body and all my dreams were shattered within moments” he added. Rahim belongs to a middle class family who live in a remote area of Mymensing. Both of my parents work at the primary school and it is very difficult for them to take care of Rahim physically and financially. “It is very difficult to carry me to the CRP center twice a month. I seem to trouble my parents a lot but they never express.” A digital patient follow up system will make it easier for people like Rahim seek quality services complying with core values of equality, justice and cost efficiency. A2I initiative of the Service Innovation Fund (SIF) has made it possible for an automated patient follow-up system to be launched, named “Community Digital Information and Service Booth” under Upazilla Disabled People Development Council (UDPDC). This initiative is capable of providing upgraded healthcare support for physically challenged people in remote and out-of-reach places through neat integration of easily available technology (telemedicine, video conferencing, regular follow up through mobile, etc).
“This is a helpful initiative. I believe my parents would take a breath of relief. Now service is coming to me.” Rahim responded thankfully.

Living in the competitive world is getting more and more difficult with time. If things aren’t easy for the healthy beings then it is beyond imagination how unfavorable the fast pacing world must be for the people with disabilities.  Every task is challenging for them. They need as much user-friendly support systems as possible.  Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed (CRP) has been persistently trying to provide the patients with more accessible advanced facilities but the patient follow-up procedures applicable to individuals with disabilities have been very slow and expensive till now. The project “E-specialized services for people with disabilities” has been initiated to provide advanced digital patient follow up system for those under privileged people.

Within 6 months of operation the project developed 08 Upazila level CDISB under Upazilla Disabled People Development Councils (UDPDC) with advanced specialized services. This project has been developed for the purpose of social and economic of disable people in the rural areas of Bangladesh, as well as access to information with Community Digital Information and Service Booth (CDISB). All the beneficiaries of the project are physically impaired and socially discriminated. This project will be helpful to ensure access to information from various services providing organization, employment and income generation, training, capacity & skill development for the people with disabilities and it will ensure their development in a sustainable manner.

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