Frequently Asked Questions – WASH Innovation Challenge

Frequently Asked Questions

Hand washing with soap has been shown to reduce risks of leading causes of child mortality. The Regional WASH Innovation challenge thus aims to identify innovative solutions to promote hand washing with soap, which can be implemented to scale within the South Asia Region. The challenge will drive towards the three following categories:

  1. Development of innovative behaviour change campaigns promoting hand washing with soap during critical times by mothers and caregivers, tailored to local contexts and issues.
  2. Development of appropriate technologies to make hand washing with soap by mothers and caregivers during critical times easier and more fun.
  3. Development of innovative systems to measure and monitor hand washing at home, in schools and health centres in a sustainable way.


The critical times are the times when we deem it necessary for mothers and caregivers to wash their hands with soap: before preparing food, before feeding babies and children, after changing baby nappies and following defecation.

If you’re a university student, a coder, a young professional, a start-up, a small NGO or a communication agency, and your nationality is from any of the following 8 countries, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, you are eligible to apply.

In particular, we are looking for passionate people with big ideas, and a desire to make a difference by driving social change.

You can join in any way! Whether you are an individual, a representative of an organisation or part of a team, we want your innovative ideas from your diverse perspectives, talents and ideas, ready to tackle this particular issue of hand washing. Teams can have maximum 4 participants, including the team leader.

From 10th August – 10th September, during the first phase, we will be accepting application. You will be able to submit your ideas on our website . From these submissions, we will shortlist around 50 participants across 8 countries for the 2nd round of assessment.

From 17th – 30th September, during the second phase, our 50 shortlisted participants will be participating in a guided “5 step challenge” to test their ideas on the ground.

From these 50 submissions, we will then again shortlist 10 finalists, who will be invited to the finale of the Regional WASH Innovation Challenge on October 22nd and 23rd October 2018 in Bhutan. Transportation and accommodation of the finalists will be covered by UNICEF ROSA.

During the finale, all the finalists will present their idea to a distinguished jury board panel who will select the 3 winning teams.

It isn’t required to have an existing idea: a brand new idea can be submitted as well.

No, you do not have to have a working prototype available when you apply although it would be great if you had one. But you will have to test your idea with your target audience to get shortlisted for the second round of assessment.

Yes, you are welcome to submit multiple ideas if you, your team or your organisation are able to come up with different innovative solutions. Please keep in mind though that quality rather quantity, is a better guarantee of being shortlisted. If 2 of your ideas get shortlisted for the final, you have to pick one.

Apply through the website by filling up the form here .

UNICEF ROSA and BRAC will jointly conduct the screening process for this Innovation Challenge.

We are looking at two following criteria based on which we will evaluate your idea:

  1. Innovation- The idea must have some innovative features, which can ultimately trigger positive behavior change regarding hand washing with soap.
  2. Scalability – The idea must have the potential to scale it across South Asia.

We will provide templates as guidelines as well as other resources for inspiration. Additionally, we will offer our guidance/feedback and support to the promising ideas after the end of the competition.

All finalists are brought over from their home country to Bhutan for the final round. The subsequent 3 winning teams from there will not only have the prestige of being the first ever champions of this challenge, but they will also receive a cash prize – worth $5000 each – and will be publicized through UNICEF WASH networks and events such as global and regional network meetings. Also, the finalists team members will get the opportunity to present their idea in global conferences.

You can find more about BRAC here. You can find more about UNICEF ROSA here.

If your query hasn’t been addressed in our FAQs, contact us by email (domain)