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Call for Applications: The 2020 Digital Development Awards

USAID is working toward a future where digital technology empowers all, especially the most vulnerable. In an effort to recognize USAID Missions, Bureaus and implementing partners helping countries on their Journey to Self-Reliance through the use of digital technologies, the U.S. Global Development Lab is launching the 2020 Digital Development Awards (The Digis).

The Digis recognize and celebrate USAID-funded projects and activities that use digital technology to sustain open, secure, and inclusive digital ecosystems that improve measurable development and humanitarian-assistance outcomes.

Who Is Eligible To Enter?

The Digis will be awarded to USAID-funded projects and activities. An individual from USAID or any USAID partner organization that has implemented or is currently implementing a USAID-funded project can submit an application on behalf of the project. Implementing partners submitting an application should consult with their appropriate USAID point of contact.  

All USAID staff and implementing partners working on a USAID-funded project are encouraged to apply, regardless of the size, region, or portfolio of the activity. Applications are open to USAID-funded projects and activities that have directly deployed a digital technology or suite of technologies and those that have provided support to digital ecosystem actors to extend digital technology access and/or uptake. Digital ecosystem actors include technology providers, financial service providers, government agencies, or other entities that are either deploying digital technology solutions or developing policies/regulations that enable increased access and uptake. USAID implementing partners, Foreign Service Nationals, Mission and Bureau staff, and U.S. Personal Services Contractors are strongly encouraged to submit applications. 


The Digital Development Awards (Digis) will recognize USAID-funded activities that focus on: 

  • Digital ecosystem support: A digital ecosystem comprises the stakeholders, systems, and enabling environment that together empower people and communities to use digital technology to access services, engage with each other, or pursue economic opportunities. 

  • Digital technology deployment: The term “digital technology” not only describes a type of technology but also refers to the platforms, processes, and range of technologies that underpin modern information and communications technologies (ICT), including the Internet and mobile phone platforms, as well as advanced data infrastructure and analytical approaches.

How Will The Applications Be Judged?

The applications will be judged based on four criteria: 

  • Criteria 1 - Integration: The digital technology or digital ecosystem deployment was integrated into the strategy, design and implementation of a USAID activity which contributes in a measurable way toward achieving the development objective(s). 
  • Criteria 2 - Principles for Digital Development: The activity aligns with the Principles for Digital Development in strategy, design, and implementation. 
  • Criteria 3 - Impact & Sustainability: The activity has demonstrated significant impact and sustainability after USAID support ends.  
  • Criteria 4 - Inclusive Development: If the activity is entered into the digital ecosystem support category, the activity should show significant action to increase equitable use of digital technologies and ensure communities and organizations are using the digital technology securely and responsibly. If the activity is entered into the digital technology deployment category, the activity should show significant effort to strengthen and/or support private sector-led engagement in the digital economy and support public institutions' capacity or efforts to strengthen the digital economy.

More Questions?

Applications are due June 3, 2020.

Visit the Digital Development Awards website for more information on the application process.