Omidyar sets up $1 mn fund to back proposals that ease Covid-19 challenges

Omidyar sets up $1 mn fund to back proposals that ease Covid-19 challenges
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24 Mar, 2020

Impact investor firm Omidyar Network India has set aside a corpus of $1 million (Rs 7.6 crore) and invited proposals to tackle the challenges posed by the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Each proposal can get funding between $6,500 (Rs 5 lakh) and $0.3 million (Rs 2 crore), as part of the rapid response funding initiative, the company said in a statement.

It will fund proposals that will help the lower 60% of India’s income group manage and mitigate challenges amid Covid-19, the company added.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and its wider socio-economic impact are an unprecedented development. This is one of the biggest human challenges of our times. World over, governments, donors, investors and communities are coming together to face this crisis,” Omidyar said in a statement.

“We recognise that the slowdown will most impact the vulnerable sections of our population and large swathes of India’s ‘next half billion’, whom we seek to serve – the vendors, daily wage earners, the gig-economy workers and small businesses,” it added. 

The company has invited proposals that strengthen containment, detection and treatment, support crisis management capabilities, and enhance resilience and recovery in the wake of Covid-19. These can include data, apps and other technological solutions, community outreach and mobilisation campaigns, and proposals that seek to improve economic resilience of the National Housing Bank workers and small businesses whose livelihoods are impacted due to Covid-19.

The company said that priority would be given to scalable solutions that leverage technology, time-bound interventions that can be implemented quickly and solutions that have initial traction -- this could be evidenced through, for example, government or community commitment to adopt the solution, completed pilots or available co-funding partners. 

Omidyar has invited non-government organisations, research organisations, social entrepreneurs and businesses to do this on a no-profit basis.