Call for Proposals for Open Window Program
The Agency Fund
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Closing Date : February 14 2022, Monday


The Agency Fund has announced a call for proposals for Open Window to support research and innovation projects:

  • A Pilot round is suitable for untested ideas. The expected output is a proof-of-concept.

  • Advanced funding rounds are suitable for ideas with a degree of existing evidence or scale. The expected outcomes are greater evidence and greater scale. There are no defined contribution limits.

The lottery of birth is deeply unfair. Yet even people in poverty strive to live with self-determination, dignity, and hope. The greater agency, the less they are defined by the circumstances they were born into. What do people need to exert agency over their lives? There is evidence that both information and psychosocial support play important roles. For example, tailored insights — like customized advice and personalized coaching — can enable the successful navigation of difficult economic and life choices. Rigorous research indicates that such support can improve subjective indicators like self-efficacy and life satisfaction, along with objective outcomes like income, health status, and educational attainment. Technology has a role to play in helping large numbers of people access customized insights and coaching. For example, recommender systems and personalization engines already support consumers navigating online choices — from purchasing decisions and investment options, to finding the right service provider. The expansion of mobile technology, along with the falling cost of data in low-income settings, makes it possible to bring evidence-based guidance to people in poverty as well. A number of organizations are already pioneering this approach. For example:

  • Non-profit Precision Development provides smallholder farmers in India and Africa with agricultural advisory services that are tailored to local agronomic conditions.

  • Non-profit ConsiliumBots helps Latin American students and their families navigate the public education options that are available to them.

  • Shujaaz, a social venture, builds digital tools that help East African micro-entrepreneurs seek and share advice on informal street hustles

The Fund is interested in these and similar ideas that give people access to localized, actionable insights that may prove useful to them in the navigation of their difficult economic prospects.

Funding Information

The maximum contribution is $180k.

What and How They Fund

The strongest applications will demonstrate:

  • Direct relevance to the planning and decision challenges of individuals, households, or communities in poverty.

  • A compelling hypothesis about specific informational or psychosocial barriers that can keep people from realizing their full potential.

  • A team that works at the cutting edge of social or technological innovation, follows an evidence based approach, and has a deep understanding of the context it operates in.

  • A path to scale, a framework for measuring cost and benefits at scale, and ambitious timelines.

Eligibility Criteria
  • Fellowships are available to individuals with or without an institutional affiliation.

  • Project funding is available only to institutions.

  • A wide range of institutions is eligible, in principle.

  • When they are an option, U.S. 501(c)(3) public charities offer the lowest administrative cost and quickest turn-arounds. That said, applications from institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South & Southeast Asia are highly valued and encouraged, and they work actively to promote them.

  • For-profits such as social ventures may be eligible for project funding so long as all outputs of the work are made public. They are ineligible for unrestricted organizational support, but may be eligible for seed equity on an invitation-only basis.

For more information, visit The Agency Fund.