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Plan International USA Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant

Plan International USA announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Plan International USA will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled “House Parties: Experiential Marketing for Global Aid.”

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Plan’s project is one of over 50 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To receive funding, Plan International USA and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of four critical global heath and development topic areas that included agriculture development, neglected tropical diseases and communications. Applications for the next round will be accepted starting September 2013.

Plan International USA (Plan) is a child-focused international development organization working in 50 developing countries around the world to end the cycle of poverty for children, their families, and their communities. Plan’s programs focus around eight core areas: education, protection, economic security, health, sexual health (including HIV/AIDS), emergencies, water and sanitation, and child participation.

As a winner in the Communications category, Plan will use the Grand Challenges Explorations grant to apply the for-profit “house parties” retail marketing and communications concept to expand and activate a network of engaged citizens who support international development.

The house parties concept is an innovative fusion of word-of-mouth, experiential, and digital communication to target key influencers and advocates. This approach, ground-breaking in the non-profit sector, harnesses the power of ‘early adopters’ to educate, activate, and expand a broader network of involved citizens. Plan will launch a robust evaluation of the model and determine the effectiveness of this interactive and engaging approach to building new supporters of international development.

About Grand Challenges Explorations

Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, over 800 people in more than 50 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants. The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page online applications and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of US$100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million.

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