The big picture

Access to clean water is a basic human right.

Yet over 2 billion people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water and billions more suffer from poor sanitation.

What are Unicef and Arm doing to tackle this? In September 2018, the Global Grand Challenges Explorations were launched to urge innovators to discover and develop meaningful digital solutions to improve access to safe, clean water and sanitation in urban areas. Keep scrolling to find out more.

4.5 billion

people lack access to sanitation.

1 billion

people worldwide defecate in the open.

3 billion

people use toilets where the waste is not safely managed.

Global Grand Challenges Explorations

Scroll right to see how we have been making it easier to access safe, clean water and sanitation.

September 2018

Global Grand Challenges launched

Unicef, Arm, The African Academy of Sciences with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched a Global Grand Challenges Exploration – Digital Innovations for WASH in Urban Settings.

Record breaking results

With over 500 proposals from 47 different countries, this Grand Challenges Exploration became one of the top five most popular of all time.

The solutions

15 solutions were chosen from the pool of over 500 proposals.

The Bootcamp

For 8 of these teams, the partners crafted a Bootcamp experience along with the WFP Innovation Accelerator, which culminated in a Pitch Night hosted by frog design.

UN WFP Accelerator

The WFPP Innovation Accelerator identifies, nurtures and globally scales bold solutions to hunger.

5 Days

Over the course of five days, innovation and humanitarian experts help teams thoroughly explore the challenges, create solutions and refine project plans.


Arm, Unicef, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will conduct a virtual bootcamp with the other seven teams that will cover the spectrum from Designing for Impact, Product Positioning and Go-To-Market Strategy and beyond.

With the bootcamp experience, and continuous support and mentorship throughout the grant period, Unicef and Arm will further identify 1-3 of the interventions to help transition to scale, with more funding, creation and linkage to more partnerships and investments, and collaborations across industries as needed.

Watch this space!

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The Grantees

Scroll down to find out more about some of the grantees


In Bangalore and Mexico City, 200 million people have no water pipes. They need to wait all day for trucked water.

H2Go is a mobile-based solution that will improve trucked water systems for the poorest and most under-served people in cities around the world.

Think Uber for water.

Click here to find out more:


The team is developing a solar-powered water ozonation system to sustainably disinfect water to make it safe for drinking in households and communities in Kenya.

Typically ozone treatments require a lot of electricity, however through H203 the grantees have developed a breakthrough technology that greatly reduced electricity needs.

Click here to find out more:

Fresh Life Initiative

Lack of safe sanitation is a major problem and underlying cause of child mortality in many developing countries. In Kenya, the majority of residents use pit latrines.

In Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, 60% of the population is crammed into a mere 5% of the city’s residential area.

In these areas, the Fresh Life Initiative has installed more than 2,600 toilets, daily serving over 100,000 residents with safe sanitation.

Through developing a digital customer support system, Fresh Life Initiative aim to improve the quality of sanitation services and streamline waste collection efforts.

Click here to find out more:

We would really love to see a world where everyone has access to a toilet, and doesn’t have to go out of their way or have to risk their lives just to access a toilet. So we are really working towards access, at the same time improving the health of the environment and the health of the community that we serve.
Peris Waweru, Fresh Life Initiative (Grantee)

Fighting Poor Sanitation with Domestos

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