How To Apply and Qualify For Public Sector Innovation Challenge in Malawi

With help from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the government of Malawi is asking for proposals for the Innovation Challenge. This is part of their ongoing work to help government institutions adopt innovative reforms to improve public service delivery and reach both the Malawi 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals. (SDGs).

The goal of the second round of this Challenge is to help the government improve the role of key ministries in boosting productivity in the economy as a whole and bringing in more money, as was mentioned in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the opening session of Parliament and at the 2023/2024 Budget meeting.


Innovation is a goal of the Malawi Implementation Plan (MIP), which is made up of three pillars:

Pillar I: Getting farms to produce more and sell their goods
Pillar II: Industrialization
Pillar III: Urbanization
The Challenge is all about promoting Enablers 2 and 3, in that order.

The main goal of the Challenge is to promote Enablers 2 and 3, which are both important parts of the MIP-1.

Enabler 2: Effective Governance Systems and Institutions. The goal of this is to have governance systems and institutions that work well and strictly follow the rule of law.
The goal of Enabler 3: Enhanced Public Sector Performance is to have a world-class, high-performing, and professional public sector so that public services and things can be delivered quickly.
The Innovation Challenge gives line ministries a chance to figure out what they need to do to improve their performance and bring in more money. It also gives them a chance to think of new ways to provide services that are more effective and efficient.

Types of Submissions

All together, the Award is worth USD 120,000. Each of the three best ideas will get up to $40,000 USD.

Category 1: Bringing in money Applies to innovations that: Make it easier to collect taxes by making management better. (systems, processes etc.)Getting more money by getting it from different places (broadening revenue bases)
Category 2: Getting things done This applies to innovations that show a higher or better level of service (output or result) for the least amount of money.

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Criteria for eligibility

  • All Ministries can send in an application.
  • The Ministry’s Controlling Officer has to sign off on everything.
  • We don’t accept submissions from individual sections.
  • Institutions, not people, will get the awards.
  • Each Ministry can only send one suggestion per category.

How to fill out an application and what to do

  • Ministries can apply to more than one category, but they can only send one application to each category.
  • The proposal should show how the new idea will help the Ministry make more money or be more productive generally.
  • The new idea should fit with at least one key area of either of the two pillars of Malawi 2063.
  • The entry should show in a clear way that the new idea can work.
  • The proposal should show how partnerships were built.
  • The application should include a clear explanation of how the plan will be put into action and when.
  • The submission must be accompanied by a letter of support from the Controlling Officer of the Ministry that is making the application.
  • Submissions must be made on a specific web form and cannot be longer than a certain number of words.
  • An independent panel made up of people who know about public sector management and innovation will choose the winning entries.

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The entry must come with a filled-out application form that lists the roles of the institution’s innovation team: Team Captain There will be a designated person in the school who will work with the innovation team to validate, test, improve, and scale innovations.

The person in charge of the team will be the organisation’s change driver and will work closely with the Public Sector Innovation Technical Committee. Officer/Innovator in charge of designing and trying new ideas A designated officer will be in charge of coming up with new innovations to solve problems or making changes to current innovations to solve problems. He or she will also be in charge of organising the testing and piloting of innovations on a small scale.

Officer in charge of planning and strategic partnerships A designated officer will be in charge of looking into possible partnerships (with other MDAs, the business sector, or citizens) that could help with designing, testing, growing, and making the innovation part of the system.

Young Businessperson or Intern (Not more than 35 years of age) A young officer or intern who will work closely with the team to help with administrative tasks, support solution validation, testing, and execution, and record and share lessons with other MDAs so that the innovation can be used by other agencies.

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Note: Women are especially urged to be on the team by councils.

For more information, visit Malawi Government.

DEADLINE: 31st May 2023

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