Last week, C2C participated in the final round of the Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development grant (www.savinglivesatbirth.net) in Washington DC. More than 600 applicants submitted proposals to the RFA issued by a consortium of USAID, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, World Bank and Grand Challenges Canada. C2C was selected as one of the 77 finalists to participate in the Development Exchange, a three-day event in Washington where finalists could network and share their ideas with one another as well as speak with the final evaluation team about their innovations. Our Director of Partnerships and Development, Jessica Thompson Somol, and Founder/President, Elizabeth Sheehan, met with hundreds of key opinion leaders and other organizations in the development arena, including representatives from the Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, representatives from corporate social responsibility programs, politicians and media.
The event provided C2C with tremendous exposure and publicity. The forum was open to the public for part of the time and many people walked through the booths learning about some of the new cutting-edge innovations being proposed to save the lives of mothers and infants at the time of birth. The C2C team is looking forward to following up with the many valuable connections made in Washington to advance its model, exploit possible funding options and expand the exposure this event afforded C2C’s work in Haiti and its upcoming deployment to Namibia. Unfortunately C2C was not awarded one of the 19 seed grants but the team remains optimistic about other funding opportunities based on some of the reactions and feedback it received. On the last day, we were treated to keynote speeches from Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Christy Turlington Burns from Every Mother Counts, Kevin Starr from the Mulago Foundation and others. It was a terrific three days and we were proud to be there!