Catalyst Grant

Candid photo of a panel discussion; man in business formal dress in center speaks
2021 Fellowship Alumnus Abdallah Mabrouck of Tanzania (center) won the inaugural Catalyst Grant in 2022.

The world has already invented products and services to end poverty, yet many interventions have large delivery gaps. Millions of people still don’t have access. Can you solve this problem? Do you have an idea that can catalyze positive change?

Through a partnership between IREX and D-Prize, a non-profit organization that works to distribute and scale proven technologies to benefit people in extreme poverty, a limited number of Fellowship Alumni will be selected to receive grants of up to $20,000 USD each to pilot a new initiative to catalyze change and distribute a proven poverty intervention wherever extreme poverty exists.

Application Information

Who Should Apply?

The Catalyst Grant is open to all Fellowship Alumni from all tracks, sectors, and levels of expertise who want to launch or scale a social enterprise in communities throughout Africa. The grant is intended to support Fellowship Alumni to deliver a proven poverty intervention at scale. The grant is not intended to support prototyping a promising new solution.

Eligibility Criteria

Applications that meet the following criteria will be eligible for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Catalyst Grant:

  • The lead applicant (i.e., the person submitting the application) is a Fellowship Alumnus/a/i in good standing who has completed all Fellowship requirements. Please note: Fellowship Alumni are not required to include other Alumni as part of their leadership team.
  • The Fellowship Alumnus/a/i lead applicant, leadership team members, and Catalyst Grant collaboration activities are all based in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Fellowship Alumni applicants are not employees or immediate family members of employees of the U.S. Government, including U.S. Embassies, USAID, and other U.S. Government entities.
  • Applications must respond to one of the designated Catalyst Grant Challenges.

Catalyst Grant Challenges

The challenges identified by the Fellowship and D-Prize teams may change from year to year, but in past cycles, they have included challenges related to agriculture, education, governance, infrastructure, road safety, energy, health access, and poverty reduction.

Catalyst Grant Winners

Headshot of a woman in glasses with dark curly hair

Hannah Bassey Essien, 2019 Fellowship Alumna, Nigeria
Learn More

Headshot of a man with short hair, goatee, black shirt

Auxence Akonkwa, 2018 Fellowship Alumnus, DRC
Learn More

Candid photo of a man in business formal dress speaking on stage, seated in a chair

Abdallah Mabrouck, 2021 Fellowship Alumnus, Tanzania
Learn More