Innovate For Life opens applications for 2020 cohort

The third edition of the Innovate for Life program by Amref Health Africa will be centred around developing shared value partnerships between Amref country offices in Kenya and Ethiopia and health innovators to support health innovations from around the world scale in SSA and address major health challenges in the region.

Africa has one of the world’s youngest populations, and it’s set to double by 2050, meaning the demand for stable wages and employment in Africa will rise dramatically. The IFC estimated that there is a $331 billion funding gap in Africa to support small and medium enterprises grow and help to employ Africa’s youth in the future. With less than 1% of global health expenditure and only 3% of the world’s health workers, Africa accounts for almost half the world’s deaths of children under five, has the highest maternal mortality rate, and bears a heavy toll from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. As the population in Africa increases rapidly, while the existing health systems are not expanding, the situation will likely deteriorate.

This creates an opportunity to provide dedicated support to small and medium health enterprises to accelerate the continent’s progress towards SDG 3 while also supporting youth and future employment in SSA.

Amref & The Innovate for Life Program

Amref Health Africa is a non-profit organization that provides health services and health worker training to over 30 African countries. Amref partners with communities in these countries to create lasting health change across three strategic pillars: human resources for health, innovative health services and solutions, and investments in health. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, Amref works with a network of country offices that lead programming in Africa, including in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal, and South Sudan. In partnership with Accenture Development Partnerships, Amref engaged in an effort to redesign its accelerator program, Innovate for Life (I4L), to better address the challenges laid out above and the unmet needs for enterprise support in SSA, while achieving stronger outcomes for health innovators and the Amref portfolio. Amref now aims to rollout a pilot of the program in Kenya and Ethiopia SSA.

Vision, Mission & Value Proposition

The I4L program will be centred around developing shared value partnerships between Amref country offices and health innovators to support health innovations from around the world scale in SSA and address major health challenges in the region.

I4L mission amref

Based on a vision to catalyse innovations for the creation of lasting health change in Africa, I4L will offer a combination of health knowledge, capacity, and networks, business and leadership coaching, and strategic partnership development to create shared value solutions that can achieve health impact and scale in SSA. Through this approach, I4L will create a distinct value proposition for both health innovators and Amref country offices.

Program Model

To achieve the vision, mission, and value proposition, Amref will leverage a structured model for its future program across three phases: scouting, core programming, and follow up. The program will leverage a combination of in-person and remote work, online courses and workshops, and independent learning and co-creation over these three phases.

I4L program amref

Phase 1: Scouting – Over 3 months, I4L will understand Amref country office programmatic needs, source global innovators based on these needs, and select and match innovators to country office programs

Phase 2: Core Programming – Over 5 months, I4L will hold an orientation, lead business and leadership coaching, and co-create partnerships between health innovators and Amref country offices. These activities will lead to the development of a partnership proposal or Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that can be signed during the completion of this phase

Phase 3: Follow Up – Ongoing after completion of the core program, I4L will communicate with and monitor the progress of I4L innovators and the shared value solutions developed during the core program through pilot implementation and/or alumni programming


We are looking for passionate health innovators who have a solution-focused on an identified health challenge and/or thematic area of focus and fit the needs of Amref country offices to enable a demand-driven innovation programme and strong partnerships for scale.

In specific, the future I4L innovator should:

  • Have an innovative solution in Ethiopia in any of the following areas: 1) NCDs, 2) CDs and 3) WASH
  • Have an innovative solution in Kenya in any of the following areas: 1) HIV/TB/Malaria/NCDs, 2) RMNCAH and 3) WASH & NTDs. Special interest to innovations targeting behavioural change and data collation in the aforementioned thematic areas;
  • Have a proof-of-concept innovation with demonstrated business viability;
  • Have proof of testing the innovation in the Kenyan or Ethiopian market; for example, a feasibility assessment, registration, and/or launch of the innovation in this geography;
  • Be interested in scaling their innovation through a partnership with one or many Amref programme(s).

More information & Apply