UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) Early and Unintended Pregnancy HackLab 2022


Application Deadline: 21 August 2022 

The UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) Early and Unintended Pregnancy HackLab will source innovative solutions to accelerate collective efforts to end Early and Unintended Pregnancy across the ESA region. The goal of this Hacklab is to create a world where communities, including women and girls are supported and lead the campaign against early and unintended pregnancy. The HackLab will engage youth innovators, COs and an incubation partner to scale innovation solutions to end Early Pregnancy in East and Southern Africa.

The Hacklab will target young innovators who have aspiring solutions that when taken to scale can make impactful change for girls at risk of early pregnancy. The hacklab will also identify intermediaries including accelerators within Country Offices (COs), incubators, investors, marketers etc who can support young innovators to thrive and become leaders of societal change. The project will identify innovators and connect them with COs to assist them with aligning with UNFPAs mandate to develop their innovative solution in addressing issues related to early pregnancy. This will mitigate the impact of early pregnancy on communities especially women and youth, identifying and empowering young innovators and activists to ideate on solutions reflecting youth leadership on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).

Eligibility Criteria

To participate in the Hacklab, the selected innovation solution must meet the following criteria:

1. Ideas must be new, innovative and respond to any of the opportunity areas identified above.

2. Be based in an UNFPA SYP Programme country (Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe);

3. Solutions must have been tested previously on a small scale and be at the stage to be scaled up;

4. Demonstrate capacity with a clear plan for incubating the solution to scale;

5. Innovations can be submitted by individuals, teams of individuals, non-governmental organizations (NGO) or companies;

6. Priority will be given to solutions from innovators under the age of 35 or from youth-led organizations or companies;

7. Align with the UNFPAs transformative results and/core mandate;

8. Align with the UN principles of innovation;

9. Be scalable and potentially commercially viable solutions. Solutions that are adaptable to other contexts with little financial inject required;

10. Have a demonstrable capacity to empower women and youth;

11. Teams must be willing to adjust their solution if advised by their Country Office facilitating their technical capacity building;

12. Willingness to showcase their solutions through communication platforms to be determined by UNFPA.

Eligible Countries









South Africa




Challenge Format:

1. First Phase – Call for Innovations

This is where you come in! We invite you to apply for the call, and submit your innovations. Once the call for solutions has closed, UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) will make a long list of all submitted solutions, and then send the applications to the corresponding Country Office (COs). After receiving the long list of solutions from ESARO, the COs are responsible for the selection of one innovative solution in their country (which aligns directly to the Country Programme Document – the key document which articulates UNFPA’s contribution to achieving national priorities, goals and results ) to represent them at the final pitch event.

2. Second Phase – Technical capacity building for innovators and COs and final pitch event

CO staff will collaborate with the innovators to prepare and present their solutions at the final pitch event. COs will assist innovators with synergising their innovations to the CPDs of the applying countries, UNFPA’s mandate and further develop their innovative solution in addressing issues related to early and unintended pregnancy.

Technical capacity building for innovators and COs will be provided by an acceleration incubation partner and UNFPA ESARO.

The COs and innovators must demonstrate that the solution is novel in the SYP programme country but has been tested on a small scale already and have a clear plan for incubating the solution to scale. At a final pitch event, a panel of technical and programmatic experts will evaluate the solutions and select the two winning innovation solutions. Each of the two emerging solutions will benefit from a seed fund of USD$10,000 cash investments and another $10,000 in business and investment readiness in-kind support.

3. Third Phase – Investment Readiness preparation

Following the final pitch event, investment readiness preparations will be initiated. This support programme will be conducted by an acceleration incubation partner in collaboration with the COs and ESARO, to ensure that the innovative solution is viable, sustainable and ready for market.

Disbursement of the seed fund will be based on advice of the business and investment readiness coach to be assigned to the innovation team. The aim is to develop an investment ready social enterprise and a product that is scalable based on customer acquisition, revenue, reach and impact.


1.  Each of the two emerging solutions will benefit from a seed fund investment of USD$10,000.

2. Another $10,000 in kind investment readiness business support will be provided by identified business coaches. The acceleration support provided by Afrilabs will include business support services including exposure to investment opportunities, business coaching, customer acquisition, brand positioning and awareness etc.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the UNFPA ESARO Early and Unintended Pregnancy HackLab 2022


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