MENA Open Call for Innovation (O-CFI)

This call has now closed

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Name of the entity
Water and Energy for Food (WE4F)
Type of Support Provider
Close Date
Climate Objective
Eligible to submit a proposal
Non-state actors (e.g., academic/research institutions, non-profits, etc.)
Public entities
Private companies
Co-financing Requirement
Consortium Requirement
Funding Amount
USD 250,000
Middle East and North Africa
Sectors and Themes
Call Summary
This Open Call for Innovation (O-CFI) is designed to address barriers to enable the production of more food with efficient and sustainable usage of water and energy along the value chain from farming to end-users, and to impact food security, gender, and poverty reduction in an environmentally sustainable way. The O-CFI describes the purpose of the program and the types of activities that it will fund; indicates the process for preparing and submitting concept notes and proposals; and outlines criteria for their evaluation.

Individual awards are expected to range between 25,000 US Dollars and 250,000 US Dollars depending on the type of funding requested with the awardee expected to bring in a minimum 1-1 matching amount themselves. The period of performance for individual awards is up to two years; the actual period of performance for each award will be determined at the time of award. The WE4F Middle East and North Africa Regional Innovation Hub (MENA RIH) will make every attempt to distribute funding to awardees as quickly as possible, but awardees should expect to begin activities immediately after the award is signed, even if funding is delayed by one to two months. The time to disburse funds will be agreed upon with awardees based on their budgets.

Awards made through this Call for Innovations may be in the form of grants or other instruments as appropriate, depending on the nature of the submitting organization and at the discretion of the WE4F MENA RIH (and its partners).
Eligibility Criteria
Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements to participate in the call for Water and Energy for Food:

- Type – WE4F is open to legally incorporated/registered for-profit and not-for-profit organizations or academic institutions which are responsible for generating revenue and maintaining a self-sustaining operational budget (i.e., covering costs). In addition, these organizations should be able to demonstrate a revenue track record selling the water-energy-food nexus-relevant product or service. WE4F is focused on financially viable businesses or organizations that can showcase a proven and sustainable revenue model.
- Size – Water and Energy for Food is open to all relevant organizations/companies, regardless of size. We encourage applications from small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
- Matching funds or cost-sharing – All Open Call for Innovation (O-CFI) awardees are required to have at least one-to-one matching funds (cash/cash equivalent) to satisfy the
matching requirements. Matching (whether in-kind or cash/cash equivalent) is based on funding provided by WE4F, not the total project budget.
- Local presence – All applicants must use the funds to implement the innovation in a developing or emerging country. In addition, applicants must either already have a presence in MENA or must have a local partner active and operational since at least January 2022 (supporting documentation required).
- Impact – Innovations must have a direct linkage between water/energy and the food value chain. Applicants must demonstrate that they are not causing any negative harm to the
environment, like increased water usage or biodiversity loss. In addition, innovations must directly or indirectly benefit the poor (income, products, opportunities). In addition, applications must contribute to gender equality and strive for a positive impact on the environment while avoiding negative environmental effects and local market distortions.
-Data collection – Applicants must have in place proven data collection tools and/or processes that capture the number of end-users, contact details, addresses, income category per quintile, and gender, amongst others. If the applicant’s main clients are points of sales, distributors, i.e., work on a B2B basis, their direct clients’ end-users will still need to be reported as per the aforementioned criterion.

Applicants from nearly any category of organization or institution are welcome to respond to this solicitation. Specific categories of organizations and institutions that are welcome to respond include but are not limited to, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and regional organizations. Water and Energy for Food welcomes and encourages high-quality applications, especially from women-owned/women-led enterprises and entrepreneurs from developing countries. Note: Government entities and individuals are not eligible to apply for funding