Calls for Applications

Request for Applications for the Sprint4Women Zambia Design Sprint Competition for Women’s Financial Inclusion

  • October 25, 2019

  • Calls for Applications


UNCDF Zambia launched its full research report: Labour Pains: Discovering the Financial Lives of Zambian Mothers in 2018. The preliminary analysis of the report indicates a range of 20-30 percent of active DFS users being women, notwithstanding the fact that the population for women in Zambia is 51 percent.

While the Design Sprint is inspired by the research conducted on Zambian mothers, UNCDF takes note of the fact that the challenges encountered by Zambian mothers are challenges for other vulnerable groups in society, too. Therefore, the gains made in increasing financial services products to Zambian women will benefit others. UNCDF, after engaging the private sector within Zambia to determine their interest in tailoring products to address women’s needs with a call for Expressions of Interest in August 2019, has determined that there is sufficient interest from the private sector to merit a Design Sprint Competition.

UNCDF is looking for partners that will have the most potential to increase their active customer base (either by acquiring new active customers or by “activating” existing registered customers) by 30,000 customers by 2020, 60 percent of which are women, to apply for this Design Sprint Competition. These partners will have:

  • • Existing digital products and services launched in the market;
  • • Potential for large reach and scale;
  • • A commitment to reaching women by tailoring products and services that speak to their challenges.
  • • Through an intense multi-day Human-Centered Design (HCD) Sprint over the course of two weeks in November, three DFS providers (selected from criteria listed in sections 5 & 6 below) interested in improving financial inclusion for women, will compete to design women-friendly prototypes that have the most potential to reach women. In this design sprint competition, the DFS providers’ product team will work with a Design Consultant to make rapid prototypes and test them in the field to iterate and make products solve real problems for women who are traditionally underserved. These prototypes will be tested with users, iterated on, and the results and learnings from this experience will be packaged as a “pitch” presentation in front of evaluation panel.
  • • The provider that scores the highest against the criteria will win the Design Sprint Competition, which includes a cash grant valued at US$85,000 and technical assistance valued at $50,000.

The winner of the design sprint will be responsible for conducting the following, in close coordination with UNCDF: reaching 30,000 new active customers by 2020, ideally customers that are traditionally underserved, like women, youth, those in the rural areas, etc., with a target of 60 percent focused on increasing uptake and usage for women (18,000 new active customers).

The overall duration of the engagement is expected to take up to 6 months, with continued data collection engagements for up to 24 months.

Applications & RFA Calendar:

  • Call for Applications: 16th October 2019
  • Deadline for questions in writing 22nd October 2019
  • Application Review FAQ Meeting: 23rd October 2019
  • Publication of answers by UNCDF: 25th October 2019
  • Final deadline for submission of applications: 29th October 2019 11:59pm CAT (GMT +2)

Applications should be submitted using this link

You may send questions to

Questions Emerging from the Sprint4Women RFA

[Q&A published on 25/10/2019]

Do you have a working definition of the terminology ‘active’?

Active customer is defined as a transaction within 90 days.
Active agent is defined as a transaction within 30 days.

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