Learning for Girls & Women Global Challenge 2020 (multiple prizes)

MIT Solve Learning for Girls and Women Global Challenge 2020

How can marginalized girls and young women access quality learning opportunities to succeed?

MIT Solve

Challenge Overview

Compared to their male counterparts, girls and young women around the world have unequal access to quality education. Today, out of the 132 million girls worldwide who are out of school—including 52 million in Sub-Saharan Africa alone—16 million will never set foot in a classroom. For those who do, enrollment decreases as they progress through the education system. Reflective of this inequity in access, over two-thirds of the world’s 773 million illiterate adults are women.

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With more education, girls and young women earn higher wages, are less susceptible to infectious diseases, have lower maternal and newborn mortality rates, are less likely to marry as children or against their will, have more productive agricultural plots, and build greater resilience in the face of the effects of climate change. If every girl worldwide received 12 years of quality education, lifetime earnings for women could increase by up to $30 trillion globally, boosting the GDPs of entire countries worldwide.

Despite these gains, significant barriers such as poverty, early marriages, cultural and social practices, gender biases, and unsafe or unwelcoming learning environments continue to inhibit girls and young women from enrolling in school at all levels and reaching pivotal learning milestones. While great strides have been made in improving educational opportunities for girls and young women, innovations are needed where existing models have failed.

See also: Sustainable Food Systems Global Challenge 2020 by MIT Solve

The MIT Solve community is looking for technology-based solutions that level the playing field for girls and young women throughout their learning journey, from birth up to age 24. To that end, Solve seeks solutions that:

  • Increase the number of girls and young women participating in formal and informal learning and training;
  • Strengthen practical skills, competencies, and experiential learning opportunities, particularly in STEM and digital literacy, for girls and young women to effectively transition from education to employment;
  • Reduce the barriers that prevent girls and young women—especially those living in conflict and emergency situations—from reaching key learning milestones; and
  • Promote gender-inclusive and gender-responsive education for everyone, including gender non-binary and transgender learners.


A. Solver Funding

All solutions selected for Solve’s five current Global Challenges will receive a $10,000 grant funded by Solve. Solver teams will be selected by a panel of cross-sector judges at Solve Challenge Finals during UN General Assembly week in New York City on September 20, 2020.


In addition to Solve funding, the following prizes are available to Solver teams selected for the Learning for Girls & Women Challenge. To be considered for a prize, complete the prize-specific question within the application. You do not need to meet these requirements to apply to the Learning for Girls & Women Challenge:

B. The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion

The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion is open to solutions that advance the economic, financial, and political inclusion of refugees. The prize is funded by Andan Foundation, a Swiss non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting solutions that promote refugee resilience, self-reliance and integration. Up to $100,000 will be granted to up to four eligible Solver teams from across any of Solve’s current Global Challenges.

C. Innovation for Women Prize

Solutions that use innovative technology to improve quality of life for women and girls are eligible for the Innovation for Women Prize. This prize is funded by the Vodafone Americas Foundation, which supports technology-focused projects that advance the needs of women and girls, and that promote a world where women’s voices can be celebrated. Up to $75,000 will be granted across up to three Solver teams from any of Solve’s current Global Challenges.

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D. The GM Prize on Learning for Girls and Women

Solutions that encourage access to learning opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable girls and women, including access to STEM education, are eligible for the GM Prize on Learning for Girls and Women, made possible by General Motors. Up to $75,000 will be granted to up to three Solver teams within the Learning for Girls and Women Challenge, along with the opportunity to visit GM headquarters to meet with engineers and discuss solution scaling.

E. The Gulbenkian Award for Adult Literacy

The Gulbenkian Foundation Award is open to solutions that increase literacy rates among adults and that advance inclusive economic growth through greater digital literacy. Selected solutions will be based anywhere, and should be interested in including a future pilot in Portugal. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation will assist the selected Solver teams to find partners to support local pilots. The award is funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, an international foundation based in Portugal which supports the fields of arts, charity, education, and science. Up to $300,000 will be granted across up to four eligible Solver teams from the Good Jobs and Inclusive Entrepreneurship and Learning for Girls and Women Challenges.

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F. The AI for Humanity Prize

The AI for Humanity Prize is open to solutions that are already using strong data science, artificial intelligence, or machine learning to benefit humanity, and to solutions that are not yet using these technologies but plan to do so to amplify their impact in the future. This prize is made possible by The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and our global community through neuroscience research and information technology. Up to $200,000 will be granted across several Solver teams from any of Solve’s Global Challenges.

Challenge Timeline

Accepting Solutions

Challenge Opens: 25th February, 2020 at 00:00 EST
Deadline to Submit a Solution: 18th June, 2020 at 12:00 EDT

Evaluating Solutions

Solve Challenge Finals: 20th September, 2020 at 12:00 EDT

MIT Solve Challenge Timeline
MIT Solve Challenge Timeline

More Details and Application Submission

Visit the Challenge Website

Read the Challenge Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

See submitted solutions