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Polish innovations head to developing countries thanks to the Polish Challenge Fund

In January 2020, the Polish Challenge Fund was launched to support the scale-up of Polish innovations and to increase the positive impact of development activities. With the financial support from the Polish Aid programme, coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and implemented by the UNDP Regional Hub in Istanbul, 5 selected Polish innovations are going to be effective drivers of change in Ukraine and Republic of Belarus.

“Current trend in global development cooperation is to focus on engaging new actors and mobilizing funds beyond public finances. It is a modern approach, and I am very happy that Poland is a part of it.” – says Karolina Zelent-Śmigrodzka, Deputy Director at the Department of Development Cooperation at the Polish MFA.

The goal of the Polish Challenge Fund is to engage Polish private sector in contributing to the long-term sustainable development in selected partner countries (Ukraine and Republic of Belarus) with the implementation of innovative Polish solutions with the potential to scale-up and replication across the sectors and the regions.

This is how the Polish Challenge Fund follows the global trend, which emphasizes the need for involvement of all possible financial resources and tools to increase the positive impact of development activities.

An unique platform for transfer of Polish expertise

Polish Challenge Fund is as an unique platform for transfer of Polish expertise. It is based on gathering innovative solutions from private sector, research institutes and Universities – and the transfer of the selected solutions to the partner countries. The success of the programme is based on close cooperation between the Polish entities and local partners.

“Development cooperation is usually carried out in such a way that the goals, outputs and activities are set in a cooperation with the local people – and afterwards, a suitable entity is being sought. The problems are first identified on the local level and by the local partners, and secondly turn into suitable solutions.” – says Ivan Zverzhanovski, Regional Partnerships Advisor at the UNDP IRH Partnerships Team.

Polish innovative solutions

The first Call for Proposals to the Polish Challenge Fund was opened in March 2020. “We received 17 applications from companies, research institutes and Universities. 11 of them were aiming to cooperate with the local partners in Ukraine – and 6 of them were heading to Belarus.” – says Katarzyna Rozesłaniec, Polish Challenge Fund Project Manager at the UNDP IRH. “We were glad to receive a nice amount of applications and most of them were well prepared – with a high potential for impact on the ground. We have selected 5, which have scored as the most suitable ones – based on their quality, degree of innovation, contribution to SDGs and potential for further expansion.” – she added.

5 selected initiatives

Among the 5 selected initiatives, an innovation focused on monitoring of air-pollution with the real-time data visualization from a top-notch Polish company Airly Sp. z o. o., will be implemented in Belarus.

Poznan University of Economics and Business Knowledge Transfer Centre will cooperate with Hi Tech Office Ukraine on the adaption of CODE in Ukrainian context, which is a specific ICT tool for decentralized and bottom-up support to the Ukrainian health centres.

In Belarus, the company EKOPROM Michał Hawryłyszyn will implement an unique technology, which eliminates odour and allows full sewage utilization, without the necessity of removing sewage sludge.

GRADIS Sp. z o.o. aim is to introduce the smart solutions and AI into the streets lighting in Ivano-Frankivsk region in Ukraine and to help the local municipalities to reduce the electricity consumption and its negative effects.

The company SAULE S.A. will transfer the know-how and technology for animal tracking: tracking population of European bison in Ukraine (incl. Chernobyl Exclusion Zone), by using Perovskite solar modules.


Visualization of the results PCF 2020
Results of the Polish Challenge Fund 2020

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