The purpose of this call is to gather information related to health challenge contests – defined as open calls to solicit community input in order to improve public health. We are soliciting descriptions of case studies, experiences organizing contests, and evaluation examples. These cases will be reviewed by a panel based on clarity of model, effectiveness, promotion of equity, and potential for learning. Exceptional cases will be included in a global toolkit on challenge contests for health. The call is organized by Social Entrepreneurship for Sexual Health (SESH) in partnership with the Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI). The work is supported by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), based at the World Health Organization (WHO), as part of its research to identify successful approaches to social innovation for health.



Challenge contests for health may come in several forms, including an innovation challenge, open contest, crowdsourcing activity, hackathon, or related activity to improve health. There are two categories of entries: one for individuals or teams that have organized challenge contests for health, and another for individuals or teams that have evaluated or advised on challenge contests. This call is open to all organizations and individuals. Each entry will be judged by a diverse panel of experts (see Steering Committee below for some of our panel members) based on the following criteria:

1) CHALLENGE CONTEST DESCRIPTION:  Is the health contest model clearly described? How well would a non-expert be able to read the description, understand what has been done, and carry out a similar challenge?

2) EFFECTIVENESS: Did the challenge meet its goals? Is there data (quantitative or qualitative) to support the effectiveness of the challenge contest, as well as the impact of its results?

3) PROMOTING EQUITY/INCLUSIVENESS: Does the challenge contest give a voice to the voiceless?  Does it help marginalized groups have a greater say?

4) POTENTIAL FOR LEARNING: To what extent does the challenge aim to bring new knowledge and insights to light? Do findings or results have the potential to advance understanding in the public health field?

How to submit

Select the category of entry: organizer or evaluator.  The organizer should have had a large role in the organization of the challenge contest. The evaluator only needs to advise or elaborate on contests organized by others; no direct involvement is necessary. Submit a 300-500 word description of the challenge contest for health. The structure and content of the description is undefined, but should aim to best address the four evaluation criteria listed above. For instance, descriptions may include case studies, experience organizing contests, or methods for evaluation. You will also be asked to fill out a brief survey about your experience.


November 10: Deadline to submit entries

November 10 – December 10: Judges will review and evaluate entries; semi-finalists will be asked to clarify specific aspects of the contests

December 11 - March 15: Incorporation of selected cases into the global toolkit


All descriptions that have a mean score of 7/10 or greater will receive a commendation from the organizing group. Descriptions that are deemed exceptional – as defined by the evaluation panel - will be contacted for further information to be featured in SIHI’s toolkit on challenge contests for health. This toolkit will be made available in an open access format and widely distributed through regional, national, and global networks.


All participants must submit their entries through the following link: https://goo.gl/DTiyVQ


Please direct all questions to Shufang Wei, Communications Director at SESH, at shufang@seshglobal.org

Contest Organizing Committee

Joseph Tucker (University of North Carolina, SESH), Larry Han (Cambridge University, SESH), Shufang Wei (SESH), Rachel Chater (SIHI, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Rosanna Peeling (SIHI, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), Beatrice Halpaap (WHO/TDR), Phyllis Awor (SIHI, Makerere University)



Social Innovation in Health Initiative: https://socialinnovationinhealth.org/

WHO / TDR: http://www.who.int/tdr/research/social-innovation/en/

SESH: https://www.seshglobal.org/

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