|Overview : |
For the past 7 years, the UKAid’s Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF), implemented by a consortium led by The Palladium Group, has been the only major broad range innovation program in Tanzania besides the TANZICT program (which closed in early 2015). HDIF was set up to provide grant financing and technical assistance to organizations with innovative development projects in Health, Education and WASH, but the program also contributed to the development of the Tanzanian innovation ecosystem through various targeted interventions. The HDIF program is closing in July 2021.
According to the Global Innovation Index ranking, Tanzania has been progressing well in innovation performance. However, the innovation ecosystem is still in its early stages where institutions and actors are constrained by limited resources and competing priorities. There are several challenges impeding innovators and the ecosystem, ranging from lack of information, conducive policy environment, constrained availability, and access to a range of financial instruments. In particular, bridging the financing gap between early ideation stage and late growth stage, low business and technical capacity of most innovators, among others.
As a response to these challenges and the closure of the program, HDIF initiated (Q4 2019) an intensive consultative process with a cross section of the innovation ecosystem and development partners to jointly analyze the status of the innovation ecosystem. This resulted in a collective recommendation to work on an integrated and aligned approach towards “Innovation Ecosystem Strengthening”. As part of the innovation ecosystem strengthening architecture, it was recommended that a neutral non-profit Innovation Facility needs to be in place to play an ongoing role in convening and enhancing finance, service delivery and a conducive environment for innovators in Tanzania. These recommendations formed the basis of a structured design process towards an ‘Integrated Innovation Program’ spearheaded by UNDP, given its integrator role within the UN system in the implementation of SDGs. The program serves as a programmatic safety net for the incubation of the innovation Facility/Fund, currently being referred to as “Funguo Program/ Funguo Innovation Facility”.
As HDIF closes and Funguo starts, donors, partners, implementers, and government seek to know the impact HDIF has achieved and set a baseline for the Funguo Program and Facility, particularly for the annual Funguo Ecosystem Status report. The Facility also needs to know a baseline for the current BDS/Hubs in the ecosystem, to better understand how to support them, and which ones could be contracted to support the Facility. This assignment should provide that information and support the transition of both programs.