Have an Innovative Way to Save Kids Lives? Check out the Children’s Prize

According to the United Nations, nearly 11 million children under five die in developing countries every year, with 60 percent of those deaths due to malnutrition and hunger-related diseases. Fortunately, as we've been reporting, a bunch of organizations like the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and Johnson & Johnson, are stepping up to push that number down as quickly as possible. 

Related: Gates Quietly Funds an Easy Solution to Help Infants Survive and Thrive

Two years ago, a new prize also entered this mix—and it’s open to everybody. 

In 2011, Ted Caplow cofounded CappSci, a nonprofit that applies science and engineering to solving the world’s most pressing problems in sustainability, ecosystem restoration, and human health. Once CappSci identifies the world’s most pressing challenges in its areas of interests, it launches public prize competitions open to those who can develop innovative and cost-effective technology to solve those problems.

The same concepts used to launch CappSci’s public prize competitions are used as the basis for Ted Caplow’s Children’s Prize.

Launched in 2013, the Children’s Prize is an Internet-based competition that awards $250,000 to one winner for each prize cycle if they can execute their plan within two years. Though one winner per cycle seems to be a general rule, last year it seemed as though the prize made an exception by awarding two grants. Past winners include:

  • Dr. Joanne Katz of Johns Hopkins University (2014) for her community-based portable ultrasound project. The goal of her work is to reduce perinatal mortality by 30 percent in the Sarlahi District, Nepal.
  • Dr. Abdhalah Ziraba of the African Population and Health Research Center (2014) for his Kangaroo Mother Care intervention project. The goal of his work is to reduce the neonatal mortality rate in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Dr. Anita Zaidi (2013) for her work to implement evidence-based maternal, newborn, and child health intervention packages in Karachi, Pakistan. The goal of this project is to help reduce the under-five mortality rate in Rehri Goth.

The word “prize” here is a bit of a misnomer, as prizes are typically awarded in recognition or as a reward for past work. This competition doesn’t do that. The prize here is a $250,000 grant, given directly to the winners to apply to their future work.

The past winners may have all been doctors, but this is a coincidence. The Children’s Prize is open to anyone including individuals, commercial companies, NGOs, and government organizations. However, the prize money can only be used for charitable work with a focus of saving the lives of children under the age of five. Another pattern of past winners is that projects focus on improving mortality rates. The Children’s Prize is open to all innovative interventions in all disciplines that help children under five survive and thrive.

Related: Johnson & Johnson’s New Journey with Save the Children