World Bank Group, SVRI to Fund Innovations to Prevent Gender-Based Violence

October 13, 2015

WASHINGTON, October 13, 2015—The World Bank Group and nonprofit Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) today announced an open call for funding proposals for work aimed at preventing gender-based violence in low- and middle-income countries.

SVRI and the World Bank Group will provide grants of up to US$150,000 for innovations to prevent gender-based violence (GBV)—a severe and neglected problem affecting more than one in three women worldwide and a major challenge for global development.

Applications must be submitted online here by December 9, 2015. An expert panel will review all proposals and disburse up to US$1.2 million to selected applicants for projects including research, interventions, or other activities related to gender-based violence prevention.

Completed proposals will be processed by SVRI and World Bank Group (WBG) colleagues and peer-reviewed by an expert committee between January and April 2016. Results will be announced in April 2016 and awards made based on overall merit, research/project design and methods, significance of the proposed project, project manager/team, and ethical considerations.

The competition is sponsored by the World Bank Group and by an anonymous donor in honor of victims of gender-based violence around the world, and in memory of Hannah Graham, who grew up in the Washington, DC region, where the Bank Group is headquartered, and was a second-year college student at the University of Virginia when she died in 2014.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual partner violence or non-partner sexual violence, or roughly 938 million women, nearly the population of Africa. In addition to the devastating personal costs, conservative estimates of resulting lost productivity range from 1.2 of GDP in Brazil and Tanzania to 2 percent in Chile—approximately what most governments spend on primary education.

The SVRI Grant, a global innovation grant started in 2014, has awarded more than US$1 million to nine projects in seven countries. SVRI uses an innovative mix of evidenced-based information, communication and technology media, and capacity-building workshops and events to advance and expand research on sexual violence globally.

This competition will employ the Bank Group’s Development Marketplace Crowdsourcing Method. Now housed under the Social Enterprise Innovations Program in the WBG Leadership, Learning, and Innovation Vice Presidency, the Development Marketplace has awarded more than US$65million in grants to more than 1,200 innovative social enterprises and raised awareness about the role of social enterprises in addressing challenges facing the poor.

The Social Enterprise Innovations Program helps scale these innovations through public-private dialogue, structured learning for social enterprises and policymakers, and systematic evidence-gathering on the performance of social enterprise innovations. This helps maximize the potential for scale and links grantees more closely to WBG operations and public sector counterparts. 

For information about the competition, email or

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