Deadline: 11-Aug-21
The Options for Pregnancy Termination Innovation Initiative (“OPTions Initiative”) is Grand Challenges Canada’s investment program for safe pregnancy termination innovations.

The goal of this Request for Proposals (RFP) is to support women’s, girls’, and people with diverse sexual and gender identities’ access to safe abortion in low- and middleincome countries. They seek innovative and transformative approaches that put women, girls, and people with diverse sexual and gender identities in control of where, when, and how they terminate their pregnancy.

The focus of this call is to support the development and testing of:

  • new or improved approaches to increasing early access to existing abortion products and services, and
  • next generation methods of pregnancy termination, menses induction or conception interruption.
  • Grand Challenges Canada seeks bold ideas designed to be implemented in low- and middle-income originating from academic, nonprofit organizations, or for-profit entities, as well as other recognized institutions. The following types of institutions are particularly encouraged to apply:
  • Community based organizations and movements
  • New and/or unusual entrants to the sexual and reproductive health and rights space that add value and bring new perspectives to the practice of safe abortion
  • Institutions that are positioned to introduce novel ways of addressing the problem
  • Academic or research institutions (for next generation applicants)
  • Youth, woman and/or LGBTQI+-led or serving organizations
  • Feminist organizations
  • Social enterprises and/or models demonstrating early potential for financial sustainability

Focus Areas

  • Proposed innovations must be bold, innovative, transformational and ‘outside-thebox’, and must have the potential to represent a significant improvement over current access to or methods of safe abortion in either of the following two focus areas:
  • Access: Introducing or increasing early access to manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and/or medical abortion (MA). This includes but is not limited to the following:
  • Decentralizing and de-medicalizing abortion care
  • Reclassifying existing abortion methods to fit within relevant regulatory frameworks
  • Reframing and normalizing abortion to combat stigma
  • Increasing the number of trained providers and available safe services
  • Reducing economic barriers to accessing safe abortion
  • Improving access to information that will help a girl, woman, or person with a diverse sexual and gender identity to safely terminate a pregnancy
  • Next Generation Methods: Introducing a next generation method of safe abortion that provides one or more significant improvements over existing methods, including:
  • Equal or better effectiveness at terminating pregnancy over existing methods
  • Permissive within existing regulatory frameworks (e.g., it has other primary indications)
  • Ability for self-administration with greater autonomy and privacy
  • Cost effective relative to current safe methods
  • Ease of use/compliance (e.g., single pill administration)
  • Reduced side effects and pain
  • The ability to be effectively administered early or at later stages of gestation

Funding Information

  • Seed Funding: Successful proposals will be awarded seed grants of up to $250,000 CAD over 18 to 24 months to develop and test the proposed innovation.
  • Transition to Scale Funding: A limited number of innovations funded through this RFP will be invited to apply for transition-to-scale funding of up to $3,000,000 CAD, to support the refinement, testing and implementation for scale of innovative solutions that have already achieved proof of concept.

Eligibility Criteria
Eligible institutions include social enterprises and other recognized institutions (e.g., non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and for-profit companies) that:

  • are formed and legally incorporated in an eligible country, as determined by which focus area of the Request for Proposals an institution is applying to
  • can successfully execute the activities in their respective technical area
  • are capable of receiving and administering grant funding
  • are not sole proprietorships (sole proprietorships include any business structure that places liability on an individual or individuals, i.e. limited liability partnerships or unincorporated trusts in certain jurisdictions, rather than an incorporated business entity or organization).
  • are not United Nations country offices or multilateral organizations
  • Country eligibility depends on the type of intervention proposed. For access interventions, applications must come from an institution legally incorporated in a low- or middle-income country. For next generation methods interventions, applications may come from any country, including a high-income country. Applications from low- and middle-income countries are particularly welcome.

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