The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has named Indiana University’s project to improve health by solving pollution in Madagascar as one of the highest-scoring proposals, designated as the Top 100, in its 100&Change competition for a $100 million grant to help solve one of the world's most critical social challenges. IU is co-leading the project with Pure Earth and the University of Birmingham, UK, working with a multidisciplinary environmental consortium and project partners in Madagascar.
The proposal aims to implement and advance the work that was started with the creation of Madagascar’s Health and Pollution Action Plan. This plan, the first of its kind to be drafted by any country, was developed by the government and people of Madagascar with the assistance of the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution to address the country’s deadly pollution problem. Although Madagascar is well known for its biodiversity — more than 80% of the species in Madagascar exist nowhere else — its struggles with contaminated air, soil, and water are less widely recognized. Pollution is the leading cause of death in Madagascar, leading to one in three deaths. If it continues unchecked, it will soon eclipse death by all communicable disease.
The project brings together the strong will of the Malagasy to solve pollution with the knowledge and experience of leading environmental, public health, and pollution prevention experts whose skills are needed to implement the plan. Additionally, the project applies a process than can be replicated in more than 10 other countries that have initiated Health and Pollution Action Plans.
“Madagascar’s willingness to lead the world in tackling the pollution health crisis has attracted the interest of top environmental scientists and pollution prevention experts,” said project lead Joseph Shaw, an associate professor at the O’Neill School of Environmental and Public Affairs at Indiana University. “This initiative is bringing together many of the most accomplished leaders in understanding and improving the quality of air, soil, and water. Most importantly, we are committed to ensuring the plan can be implemented in a way that meets the needs and reflects the priorities of the Malagasy people, and that these strategies can be sustained and adapted over the long term.”
The Top 100 proposals represent the top 21 percent of competition submissions for 100&Change. The proposals were rigorously vetted, undergoing MacArthur’s administrative review, a peer-to-peer review, an evaluation by an external panel of judges, and a technical review by specialists.
Each proposal was evaluated using four criteria: impactful, evidence-based, feasible, and durable. MacArthur’s Board of Directors will select up to 10 finalists from the high-scoring proposals this spring.
Since the inaugural 100&Change competition, other funders and philanthropists have committed an additional $419 million to date to support bold solutions by 100&Change applicants. Building on the success of 100&Change, MacArthur created Lever for Change to unlock significant philanthropic capital by helping donors find and fund vetted, high-impact opportunities through customized competitions. In addition to 100&Change, Lever for Change manages the Chicago Prize, the Economic Opportunity Challenge, and the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award.
"MacArthur seeks to generate increased recognition, exposure, and support for the high-impact ideas designated as the Top 100,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change and MacArthur managing director for 100&Change. “Based on our experience in the first round of 100&Change, we know the competition will produce multiple compelling and fundable ideas. We are committed to matching philanthropists with powerful solutions and problem solvers to accelerate social change.”
Bold Solutions Network launches
The Bold Solutions Network launched on Feb. 19, 2020, featuring Indiana University’s proposal to improve health by solving pollution in Madagascar as one of the Top 100 from the 100&Change competition. The searchable online collection of submissions contains a project overview, 90-second video, and two-page fact sheet for each proposal. Visitors can sort by subject, location, sustainable development goal, or beneficiary population to view proposals based on area of interest.
The Bold Solutions Network showcases the highest-rated proposals from the competitions Lever for Change manages. Proposals in the Bold Solutions Network undergo extensive evaluation and due diligence to ensure each solution promises real and measurable progress to accelerate social change.
The Bold Solutions Network was designed to provide an innovative approach to identifying the most effective, enduring solutions aligned with donors’ philanthropic goals and to help top applicants gain visibility and funding from a wide array of funders. Organizations that are part of the network will have continued access to a variety of technical support and learning opportunities focused on strengthening their proposals and increasing the impact of their work.
What they're saying
"We are excited to be part of a partnership that holds such transformative power. Madagascar, a member of GAHP since 2016, was an early adopter of the Health and Pollution Action Planning process, bringing together a broad cross-section of government ministries, civil society and international organizations, to analyze the scientific data on pollution and health, and select a set of priorities for action. The sustained focus and commitment from this broad coalition to improve the health of all Malagasy children has propelled us to this promising point." --Richard Fuller, president, Pure Earth, and board chair, Global Alliance on Health and Pollution
More about 100&Change
100&Change is a distinctive competition that is open to organizations and collaborations working in any field, anywhere in the world. Proposals must identify a problem and offer a solution that promises significant and durable change.
The second round of the competition had a promising start: 3,690 competition registrants submitted 755 proposals. Of those, 475 passed an initial administrative review. 100&Change was designed to be fair, open, and transparent. The identity of the judges and the methodology used to assess initial proposals are public. Applicants received comments and feedback from the peers, judges, and technical reviewers. Key issues in the competition are discussed in a blog on MacArthur's website.
In the inaugural round of 100&Change, Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee were awarded $100 million to educate young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Syrian response region and to challenge the global system of humanitarian aid to focus more on building a foundation for future success for millions of young children.
More about project partners: The Solve Pollution Network
The Solve Pollution Network joins organizations experienced in addressing pollution with a consortium of researchers providing key insights for targeting health improvement. In partnership with government, academic, civil society, and community leaders in Madagascar, this coalition brings together the critical expertise and commitment needed to build lasting solutions.
- Indiana University
- University of Birmingham, UK
- Environment Care Consortium
- Pure Earth
- Global Alliance on Health and Pollution
- Education Development Center
- Global LPG Alliance
- Government of Madagascar
- Centre National de Recherches sur l'Environnement
- UNICEF Madagascar
- World Health Organization Madagascar
- Clean Cooking Madagascar
- Pivot Madagascar
- SEED Madagascar
- ONG Ranontsika Madagascar
- Wildlife Conservation Society Madagascar
- Comité Malgache de Butane Madagascar
- Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires Madagascar
- Initiative pour le Dévelopment la Restauration Écologique et l'Innovation
- Madagascar Green School
- Collectif d'eco-citoyen Tangala Maitso
- Think Green Madagascar Green N Kool
Nicole Wilkins, Indiana University executive director for research communications
James Boyd, O'Neill School for Public and Environmental Affairs director of marketing and communications