The Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) was set up just over 18 months ago, with money from the UK’s Department for International Development, the Swedish Foreign Ministry and the Canadian International Development Agency. It has so far given six small grants (up to US$32,000) and eight large grants (up to $238,000). Its manager, Nicolas Kroger, says what they have been trying to do is not just give grants, but also learn about innovation. “We are interested in `How do you innovate?’ and `What brought you to innovate?’ In a way the grant-making is just an excuse for the rest.”
Of course, for the applicants, it was more likely to be about the money, and the news that a new fund was open for business attracted a lot of interest. So far they have had 154 applications for the smaller grants and 570 for the larger sums. Some were from big international NGOs, but an impressive 70 percent came from local NGOs in developing countries. Disappointingly, these smaller NGOs received just one out of 14 grants given so far.