WomenConnect Challenge

Improving women's participation in everyday life by meaningfully changing the ways women and girls access and use technology

The Gender Digital Divide

Technology is revolutionizing the world by providing tools for entrepreneurship, access to critical health and education, and life-enhancing information. Today, 1.7 billion women in low- and middle-income countries still do not own mobile phones, and the gap between the number of men and women using the internet has grown steadily over the past three years, resulting in a gender digital divide. This gender digital divide is reinforcing or even exacerbating existing socioeconomic gaps between men and women. By reducing this divide, women and girls will have access to information, networks, and services, driving inclusive economic growth and accelerating poverty alleviation.

The Solution: WomenConnect Challenge

The WomenConnect Challenge is a global call for solutions to improve women's participation in everyday life by meaningfully changing the ways women and girls access and use technology. USAID seeks to identify and accelerate comprehensive solutions that empower women and girls to access and use digital technology to drive positive health, education, and livelihood outcomes for themselves and their families.

The main themes:

1.    Women’s access to technology is not an end, but a means to help address development objectives.

2.    There is a need to build evidence for approaches that are working.

3.    The scope of the gender digital divide requires local solutions that take into account complex cultural and socioeconomic factors.


We are happy to announce the WomenConnect Challenge semi-finalists (in no particular order):

Gram Vaani (OnionDev Technologies Pvt Ltd) - India
IREX - Burma
GAP-SI - Mozambique
InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia - Cambodia
Skateistan - Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa
Grassroots Economics - Kenya
Voicedeck - India
AFCHIX - Kenya, Senegal, Morocco and Namibia
University of North Carolina, Global Social Development Innovations Center - Zambia
IoTask LLC - Peru
Mercy Corps - Jordan
Africa Educational Trust - Somalia
ARUKAY - Colombia
Asociación La Nacional de Ahorros y Préstamos para la Vivienda - Dominican Republic
Viamo PBC - Pakistan and Tanzania
Equal Access International - Nigeria
Mali Health - Mali
Evidence for Policy Design India at the Institute for Financial Management and Research - India
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) - Bangladesh, Mexico, Tanzania, and Zambia
CARE International Nepal - Nepal

Deadlines and Important Dates

The WomenConnect Challenge Phase One Application period is closed. We are no longer accepting applications but encourage you to stay connected by signing up for email updates about the WomenConnect Challenge below.


Interested in learning more? We invite you to stay in touch to learn the latest information on the WomenConnect Challenge, application process and other details.