Omidyar Network India today announced that it will fund projects that can help in tackling the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of Rs. 7.5 crore ($1 million) has been committed to this initiative. NGOs, research organisations, social entrepreneurs, and for-profit businesses seeking to do this on a no-profit basis, are eligible to apply for the funding.

Types of proposals it will fund: The firm said that it is inviting proposals that strengthen containment, detection and treatment, support crisis management capabilities, and enhance resilience and recovery in the wake of COVID-19. Examples of the types of projects that can receive this funding include:

  • Data, apps and other technological solutions (for example, real-time information apps, ‘symptom checkers’, vernacular ‘helpline’ chat bots, contact tracing applications, case reporting systems, etc.)
  • Community outreach and mobilisation campaigns that may be particularly relevant to the current situation (for example, innovative approaches to mass messaging and feedback loops) Proposals that seek to improve economic resilience of NHB workers and small businesses whose livelihoods are impacted due to Covid-19
  • Actionable research that enhances the ability of the government and public in dealing with the crisis (for example, enabling ‘social distancing’ in the Indian context).
  • Collaborative efforts by foundations, philanthropies, impact investing and venture capital firms in the above areas

“We recognise that the slowdown will most impact the vulnerable sections of our population and large swathes of India’s “next half billion” (NHB), whom we seek to serve – the vendors, daily wage earners, the gig-economy workers, and small businesses. We are therefore announcing a rapid response window to fund proposals that support the lower 60% of India’s income distribution in managing and mitigating the challenges that come with Covid-19,” Omidyar Network said in the announcement.

The firm said that it would prioritise proposals that leverage technology, are easy to implement and have initial traction (government/community commitment to adopt the solution, completed pilots, available co-funding, etc.)