The world has solutions to poverty. Can you distribute them to those in need?

Our world has already invented many effective poverty solutions, but sadly most fail to reach actual people in need. Millions of lives would improve if people had access to proven energy, education, health, and other interventions. Can you start a new social enterprise and solve this problem?

D-Prize is a call to the world’s boldest entrepreneurs. Can you design a new social enterprise and solve one of the distribution challenges below? If selected, we will award you up to $20,000 to launch a pilot in Africa, India, or another other developing region. D-Prize will award 5-15 social entrepreneurs funding. If your pilot is successful, we will help you find future funding and grow to impact millions.


Press & Partners

Fletcher D-Prize "Poverty Solutions Venture" Competition


Girl’s Education

OPTION 1: 14 million unintended teen pregnancies occur annually in sub-Saharan Africa, and girls are 5x more likely to be infected with HIV. A one-hour “sugar daddy awareness” class reduces these risks 28%. Can you teach “sugar daddy awareness” classes to girls in need?

OPTION 2: Fewer than 50% of girls in developing countries will finish high school because they cannot afford fees. A $250 scholarship can quickly change a young girl's life. Can you create a fundraising website and raise money from developed-world donors?



OPTION 1: 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa use kerosene lanterns to light their homes. Solar lamps are cheaper, cleaner, create cost savings, and increase household incomes by 30%. Can you sell solar lights to rural or slum-dwelling households in need?

OPTION 2: 3 billion people cook on traditional stoves, which cause chronic smoke exposure and are the cause of 4% percent of the global disease burden. A $13 modern stove provides cost savings and health benefits. Can you sell cook stoves and maintain long-term adoption rates?



OPTION 1: By 2030 Africa will need to fill an impossible 4.1 million teaching positions. “Flipped classrooms” and deskilled curriculum can be run by a facilitator, and reduce the need for expert teachers. Can you implement an effective curriculum to teach students in a resource-limited classroom?

OPTION 2: In sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of children remain illiterate even after five years of school. Testing and public scorecards increase accountability in poor education systems. Can you launch an organization that tests student and school performance, and makes the information publicly available?


Governance and Infrastructure

OPTION 1: Public services in developing countries are rife with corruption. Public reporting and scorecards creates real accountability. Can you improve transparency and report data on the public service performance?

OPTION 2: World Bank infrastructure projects see a high social ROI, yet only 19% of roads in sub-Saharan Africa are paved. New road projects often cuts corners and may not even be finished. Can you create a simple road-construction mapping and monitoring system?


Global Health

OPTION 1. Schistosomiasis is an intestinal worm that affects 220 million people. Praziquantel, an 8 cent drug, is an effective treatment. Can you pilot a campaign and distribute praziquantel?

OPTION 2: For $20, a child can be vaccinated against a range of infectious disease for life. Yet millions of vaccines are wasted. Can you create a simple management system that tracks vaccine supplies?

OPTION 3: Misoprostol is a $3 drug that could prevent 100,000 maternal deaths from postpartum hemorrhaging. Can you develop an organization to train birth attendants to administer misoprostol?

OPTION 4: Obstetric fistula, cervical cancer, club foot, and cataracts all have effective treatments. Yet identifying patients among large populations is difficult. Can you create a way to identify patients for early treatment?



Propose your own challenge! If you know of another proven intervention in need of greater distribution, we would like to hear it. The only requirements are to choose an already proven poverty solution that is in need of distribution to more people in the developing world.


Who Should Compete?

D-Prize is for anyone who can start a new social enterprise in the developing world and solve one of the D-Prize distribution problems. You must be committed, highly skilled, and ready to scale for the long term.

We will fund some existing organizations, especially if your organization wants to pilot a new distribution-focused initiative. If you are over 12 months old, have already raised more than $100,000, and are not piloting a new distribution-focused initiative, D-Prize is unlikely to offer funding.


The deadline to submit to the most recent D-Prize competition has passed. Our next competition will run this fall. Receive an alert by joining our mailing list.


Most Recent Winners

Zacharias Teshome is launching, an online payment business that allows users to send money transfers from the US to Ethiopia. will enable users to send more money to recipients and serve as a tool for economic growth. By 2015, plans to send $300,000 in transfers and save customers $10,000 in fees. BitPesa COO Charlene Chen is serving as a mentor.

    Young 1ove

    Young 1ove founders Noam Angrist and Brenda Duverce are teaching a "sugar daddy awareness" class to young girls in Botswana. The class warns teens about the increased HIV and pregnancy risks that come with having older sexual partners. Young 1ove has already taught this class to 300 youth - and within one year will reach every school in Botswana and to avert thousands of unwanted teenage pregnancies. Young 1ove is being mentored by One Acre Fund founder Andrew Youn.

      Miti Health

      Stanford and UC Berkeley students Tammy Guo, Jessica Vernon, and Benjamin Jenson are starting Miti Health. They will provide an Android-based platform help health care providers in East Africa streamline sales, inventory, and supply chains for essential medicines. In two years, they hope to support 1,200 providers serving over a million clients. Miti Health is launching in Kenya, and is being mentored by Pinterest marketing partnership lead John Yi.


        Alyse Daunis and Hashim Mutanje are distributing energy efficient technologies to improve the health, income, and education of Africa’s low-income households. LiTeAfrica distributes solar lampsto mobile money and retail shops, trains retailers on marketing practices, and ensures warranty and after sales service. LiTeAfrica hopes to sell solar lamps and cook stoves to 66,000 households in two years. LiTeAfrica is being mentored by Sanergy co-founder Nathan Cooke.


          Launched by Hult International Business School graduates Karl Teien, Niketa Malhotra, Saul Minkoff, and Mandy Vidalis, Pulse is the world’s first mobile commitment saving service. It will give millions of unbanked people a safe and convenient way to save money and commit it toward smart purchases, such as healthy food. Pulse ran its first pilot in Ahmedabad, India, and is now scaling up with a goal to reach 1000 people in Pune, India by the end of 2014.

            Clair de Lune

            Andrew Lala and Tommy Galloway are launching Claire de Lune. They will distribute solar lighting to untapped markets in Burkina Faso. They reach rural families by leveraging bus routes and positioning solar lamps as a form of remittance payments. Claire de Lune will provide solar lighting to 400 families this summer, and will scale to 30,000 customers within two years. Andrew and Tommy won the “Poverty Solutions Venture” competition held at Fletcher.

              Social Cops

              Social Cops is turning citizens into human sensors to aid decisions in civic, public health, and education issues. The organization is using citizen crowd-sourced data to bring improve services such as garbage collection, community toilets and mid-day meal schemes. The first pilot campaign increased garbage collection from 26 percent to 98 percent in one ward of Delhi.

                Never Neglected

                BYU students Dane Anderson, Bronwen Dromey, Ryan Thomas, and Spencer Anderson will distribute praziquantel, a deworming medicine, to island villages in Uganda this summer. They will train teachers to provide medication in hard-to-reach communities, and treat over 5 million people within two years. Never Neglected won the “Y-Prize” challenge held for BYU students.


                  Tufts University student Morgan Babbs is creating SolarRoute, which uses transnational bus routes to tackle the last mile distribution challenge. She is using existing transportation infrastructure to deliver sustainable energy solutions to off-grid areas of Latin America. She will pilot the project this summer in Nicaragua. She is being mentored by One Acre Fund team manager Jenya Shandina.


                    PayGo is a for-profit direct sales company that is distributing innovative and life changing products in Ghana. PayGo identifies and trains teams of sales representatives who sell solar lanterns directly to consumers. Sales reps are also the lending mechanism for PayGo’s “Hire-to-Own” model. PayGo is selling thousands of solar lanterns during its direct sales and Hire-to-Own pilot in Ghana and is now scaling its success.


                      Launched by a team from Harvard, YouthGlobe sponsors full secondary school scholarships to talented, low-income Burundian students by connecting them to donors in developed countries. YouthGlobe provides a cost-effective platform for donors to make a significant difference in scholars' lives for less than $30 a year. YouthGlobe currently supports 100 students and aims to change the lives of thousands more.

                        Winners of the Spring 2013 Competition

                        Katie Wood

                        Katie will launch Watch Me Go, a crowd-sourced funding platform to provide education scholarships for girls in Kenya. Watch Me Go will allow donors to build a virtual classroom of smart girls in need of secondary school scholarships, track progress online and send more girls to school. Within three months Katie will raise funds for 100 girls to attend school. Premal Shah, president of Kiva, is serving as a mentor.

                          Arvind Nagarajan

                          Arvind will launch a new approach for improving education in resource-limited settings. He will rely on digital student assessments to increase transparency of education quality and drive improvements in school systems. He will pilot a tablet-based assessment in a low-cost center in Mumbai, and hopes to launch full time in 2014. Eric Pohlman, co-founder of One Acre Fund, is serving as a mentor.

                            Olivia Nava

                            Olivia launched Juabar in Tanzania. Juabar kiosks use solar power to charge mobile phones and are also a point-of-sale for household solar lamps. Kiosks are run by local “jua-preneurs”. With support from D-Prize, Olivia will support 15 local jua-preneurs, and sell 400 solar lamps in three months; and scale to 32,000 products and 150 Juabar kiosks in two years. Ani Vallabhaneni, co-founder of Sanergy, is serving as a mentor.

                              Jackie Stenson & Diana Jue

                              Jackie and Diana launched Essmart to connect local India retailers with manufacturers of solar lamps, home lighting systems, water filters and other essential products. They plan to support 5,000 local entrepreneurs and supply 500,000 households with development solutions within two years. Matt Flannery, co-founder and CEO of Kiva, is serving as a mentor.

                                Maria Springer

                                Maria Springer will launch SmartSana to distribute clean-burning cook stoves as replacements for dangerous and environmentally- damaging alternatives. She will also provide economic opportunities for local salesmen. By 2015, she hopes to reach 4 million residents in Nairobi slums who currently burn firewood, waste and charcoal for cooking.


                                  D-Prize is dedicated toward expanding access to poverty-alleviation solutions in the developing world. Many solutions to poverty already exist; the challenge is distributing these solutions to the people who need it most. We tackle this by challenging social entrepreneurs to develop better ways to distribute proven life-enhancing technologies, and funding early-stage startups that deliver the best results.


                                  1. Significantly increase access to life-enhancing technologies in the developing world – and prove an impact in a measurable way.
                                  2. Encourage young entrepreneurs to focus their talent on the developing world, pilot new solutions to distribution problems, and launch new social ventures.
                                  3. Encourage a global dialogue on the importance of leveraging distribution solutions for development. We believe the path to development is through solving distribution.

                                  Leadership Team

                                  Paul Youn
                                  BOARD MEMBER
                                  Paul lives in San Francisco, where he is a manager at a technology firm. Paul has been involved in early-stage talent screening at One Acre Fund since its inception.

                                  Paul is passionate about empowering the world’s poor to reach their full human potential.

                                  David Auerbach
                                  David is a co-founder of Sanergy, a social enterprise which makes hygienic sanitation sustainable in urban slums. David previously worked at Endeavor, a non-profit which helps for-profit entrepreneurs in the developing world scale, and at the Clinton Foundation.

                                  David holds an MBA from MIT and BA from Yale University. He lives the social enterprise dream in Nairobi.

                                  Nat Robinson
                                  Nat is the CEO of Juhudi Kilimo Company Limited, which provides micro-asset financing to thousands of rural Kenyan smallholder farmers. He led the transformation from a non-profit pilot program within KDA to a fully operational enterprise.

                                  Nat is originally from the U.S. but has worked and traveled in over 40 countries. He is a Rainer Arnhold Fellow with the Mulago Foundation and has an MBA from Vanderbilt.

                                  Nicholas Fusso
                                  PROGRAM DIRECTOR
                                  Nicholas directs D-Prize in San Francisco. He attended the University of Washington, and earned an MBA from Claremont. His background is in strategy and systems thinking, and he has been involved in several startups.

                                  Nicholas sees entrepreneurship as the surest path to sustainable development.

                                  May Lim
                                  BOARD MEMBER
                                  May lives in San Francisco, where she is raising her daughter. She has worked in cancer research and as an electrical engineer, and graduated from MIT.

                                  She is passionate about giving others the opportunity to thrive.

                                  Eric Pohlman
                                  Eric co-founded One Acre Fund in Rwanda in 2007, which is doubling profitability for 130,000 East African farms. He has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tourou, Cameroon, and has founded an NGO that improves water availability and quality.

                                  Eric's social enterprise passion developed while at Georgetown University, studying abroad in Dakar, Senegal, and working in Mbale, Uganda. Eric is greatly indebted to his colleagues and professors in supporting all his endeavors.

                                  Andrew Youn
                                  BOARD MEMBER
                                  Andrew started One Acre Fund, a social enterprise that distributes farm inputs and training to smallholder farmers, enabling them to double their income per acre. One Acre Fund has over 1,000 full-time staff and serves 130,000 families.

                                  Andrew lives in rural Kenya and has personally seen the power of technology distribution to transform the lives of hard-working families.

                                  Cliff Frey
                                  BOARD MEMBER
                                  Cliff is a software architect working in San Francisco. He helped grow Meraki, Inc from 5 employees to over 300.

                                  Cliff is excited about helping technology to reach the places where it can have the greatest benefit.

                                  Barrett Prinz
                                  Barrett Prinz is One Acre Fund’s Chief People Officer. One Acre Fund currently serves 130,000 families in Africa by helping them double farm income per acre. Prior to joining One Acre Fund, Barrett was an attorney at Manhattan and Boston firms specializing in corporate, white collar defense and employment litigation matters.

                                  Barrett graduated from the University of Vermont and received his law degree from Tulane Law School.


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                                  NICHOLAS FUSSO, Program Director
                                  Email: [email protected]

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