Unlock Aid Doubles Size of its Coalition 

Group is driving reforms to make international development agencies around the world more innovative and outcomes-oriented

WASHINGTON, DC – Unlock Aid announced a more than doubling of the size of its coalition since the start of the year today, including a mix of startups, nonprofits, and top innovators working in global development. More than half of the new organizations involved are based in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, or Latin America.

Founded by a mix of veterans from USAID, the State Department, and the White House, as well as top global development sector nonprofit and for-profits, Unlock Aid is a new coalition of prominent, pace-setting innovators driving reforms to make global development dollars deliver greater impact.

“The year 2030 will be here before you know it and we are still way too far away from achieving any of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Walter Kerr, Unlock Aid’s executive director. “We have such a diverse set of innovators coming together to speak with one voice about the urgent need for more results, innovation, and transparency in global development. I can’t wait to start working with all of these incredible groups.”

Unlock Aid’s growing coalition now includes more than 30 organizations that work on a range of SDGs, including hunger, health, and education. In the first half of 2022, the coalition will advocate for a set of reforms to make USAID the most innovative, transparent, and results-oriented aid agency in the world. In November, USAID Administrator Samantha Power announced an ambitious reform agenda, which Unlock Aid supports. Later in the year, Unlock Aid will expand its focus to address similar issues at other global development agencies. 

Here is what some new coalition organizations had to say about why they’ve gotten involved:

  • “I am excited to join a coalition that aims to make it easier for innovative – but relatively small – organizations based in low- and middle-income countries to access development aid. EarthEnable’s impact was significantly catapulted due to the Development Innovation Ventures office at USAID, which used a number of mechanisms (e.g. Fixed Amount Awards) that made it easy for our lean start-up to work with them without a lot of paperwork. If more resources could be unlocked that follow this model, I believe it would reach more locally-based organizations and make development aid more efficient and more impactful.” – Gaya Datar, the CEO and Co-Founder of EarthEnable
  • “Nivi is excited to join Unlock Aid and its growing coalition of organizational partners. As a digital marketplace empowering consumers and the health sector in emerging markets, Nivi shares the common vision of US foreign assistance that is focused on results and driven by innovation.” – Ben Bellows, the Chief Business Officer and Co-Founder at Nivi
  • “Due to limited information and transparency it has been extremely difficult for our company to find the right development agency and establish long-term partnerships, even though our organization has a proven, scalable impact model. We strongly believe that, thanks to Unlock Aid, we will have more access to partnerships with aid agencies and can better scale-up our solution across the African continent.” – Tobias Reiter, the CEO and Co-Founder at VIEBEG
  • “We can’t afford to take a “business as usual” approach to development assistance. We need new service delivery models that can rigorously prove they are changing lives, that are embedded in the communities they serve, and that can scale to serve millions of people. Unlock Aid shares this vision, and offers both transformational and practical policy suggestions to drive necessary reform. We look forward to working together!” – Colin Christensen, the Global Policy Director at One Acre Fund
  • “We are all about systems change. One of the biggest systems we need to improve is how the US government funds international development work. We’re really proud to be a part of the Unlock Aid community, looking for the win-win solutions that will help us all make a bigger difference.” – Curt Bowen, Executive Director at Semilla Nueva
  • “Kountable deeply understands the power that networks unlock when smaller companies join forces to engage large scale partners and we are thrilled to be joining the Unlock Aid network to accelerate global development.” – Chris Hale, Founder and CEO at Kountable
  • “There are countless innovative solutions to global challenges that never have the chance to succeed because they stay hidden in small organizations that aren’t able to break into the current public funding systems. We fully support Unlock Aid’s mission to bridge the gap between USAID funding and grassroots innovation.”  – Audrey Anderson Duckett, the co-CEO of Be Girl
  • “At StaTwig we are excited to support Unlock Aid to democratize access to resources in social impact space and make innovators like us succeed.” – Sid Chakravarthy, Founder and CEO of StaTwig
  • “If the current administration is going to be successful in its New Partner Initiative and push for locally-driven development, there needs to be a systems change in how projects are awarded. Unlock Aid is a coalition that I believe will help bring about this change, and we are excited to be a part of it.” Silvya Riunga, Co-Founder of Nairobi Impact Hub

The list of organizations that have joined Unlock Aid since January include:

  • AInfluence is Africa’s first AI-powered influencer marketing platform, driving positive behavior change to improve health outcomes.
  • Arizona State University was named by US News and World Report in 2021 as the most innovative university in the United States for the 7th year in a row. 
  • Be Girl creates high-performance period products, delivers age-appropriate education, and fights stigma so that all girls and women can own, understand, and love their bodies.
  • Conservation X Labs is a technology and innovation company that creates solutions to stop the extinction crisis.
  • EarthEnable creates custom-developed earthen floors that eliminate unsanitary dirt floors.
  • Eneza Education builds simple mobile technology that improves education outcomes.
  • Impact Hub Nairobi connects entrepreneurs and innovators to each other, as well as to large organizations, investors and the public sector. Why? To enable inclusive and sustainable innovation at scale.
  • Instiglio works with governments and global development practitioners to enhance the effectiveness of policies and programs.  
  • Kountable is a global trade and technology platform that enhances trust, transparency and audibility in procurement and supply chains. 
  • MARAMOJA is leading a revolutionary movement towards a socially-powered on-demand economy to make transportation to schools faster, safer, and more reliable.
  • Nivi is the conversational marketplace for health that helps individuals navigate decisions about their personal health, while enabling providers to reach larger patient populations at lower cost.  
  • One Acre Fund provides a complete bundle of services to almost 1.5 million smallholder farmers across Africa, so they can grow more food and earn more money
  • Philips is one of the world’s leading medical technology firms. 
  • Publish What You Fund is the global campaign for aid and development transparency.
  • SaveLIFE Foundation is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to improving road safety and emergency medical care across India. 
  • Semilla Nueva fights malnutrition and poverty with better corn. 
  • StaTwig is blockchain powered supply chain visibility solution that is preventing failures in vaccines and other critical supply chains.
  • VIEBEG builds modern tools for stakeholders in the medical supply chain to ensure that medical products are always available and accessible.  
  • ZUMI empowers women micro-entrepreneurs with commerce and financial services to start and scale their businesses. A B2B marketplace where entrepreneurs can secure essential inventory, working capital and logistics.

About Unlock Aid

Unlock Aid is a global coalition of committed individuals and innovative organizations working to drive reforms at global development institutions needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Devex recently named Unlock Aid one of 22 global development organizations to watch in 2022.

For more information, please contact Amanda Arch at [email protected]

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