USAID's Intelligent Forecasting: A Competition to Model Future Contraceptive Use

USAID works with local health care authorities and partners to support voluntary family planning and reproductive health programs in nearly 40 countries across the globe, which includes ensuring that contraceptives are available and accessible to people who need them.

With this competition, we seek to identify and test more accurate methods of predicting future contraceptive use at health service delivery sites.

First, we will award up to 25,000 USD in prizes to innovators who develop an intelligent forecasting model—using the data we provide and methods such as artificial intelligence (AI)—to predict the consumption of contraceptives over three months. If implemented, the model should improve the availability of contraceptives and family planning supplies at health service delivery sites throughout a nationwide healthcare system. Second, we will award a Field Implementation Grant of approximately 100,000 to 200,000 USD to customize and test a high-performing intelligent forecasting model in Côte d’Ivoire.



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Background

Greater access to contraceptives enables couples and individuals to determine whether, when, and how often to have children. Contraceptive access is vital to safe motherhood, healthy families, and prosperous communities.

In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) around the world, health systems are often unable to accurately predict the quantity of contraceptives necessary for each health service delivery site, in part due to insufficient data, limited staff capacity, and inadequate systems.

When too few supplies are ordered, service delivery sites may run out, limiting access to contraceptives and family planning. When too much product is ordered, it leads to unused contraceptives that are wasted if they are left to expire.

Accurate forecasting of contraceptive consumption can save lives, money, and time by ensuring health service delivery sites have what they need when they need it and by reducing waste in the supply chain.


Côte d’Ivoire Context

Côte d’Ivoire is home to roughly 27.4 million people. The Ivorian government has committed to make contraceptives available to the entire population and recently increased investments to purchase contraceptives by 25 percent.

In 2019, Ouagadougou Partnership estimated that over 1.3 million women in Côte d’Ivoire were using a modern method of contraception.

Contraceptives are distributed at all levels of the health care system in Côte d’Ivoire—including at the community-level. Public health service delivery sites make up 61 percent of the contraceptive supply and are key to family planning services.




About the Competition

Our goal is to ensure appropriate stocking of contraceptives and family planning supplies and to understand the benefits of intelligent forecasting models for improving contraceptive availability and supply chain efficiency.

Through this competition, we aim to:

  • Understand the strengths and limitations of various forecasting approaches.
  • Test if intelligent forecasting models can outperform traditional methods.
  • Support stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire to pilot intelligent forecasting methods for service delivery of contraceptives.
  • Generate evidence to encourage supply chain decision-makers to use intelligent forecasting models in other countries if the models are successful.

NGOs, private sector organizations, and individuals are all eligible to compete. This competition has two overlapping phases, a Forecasting Prize to develop the model and a Field Implementation Grant. You can compete for the prize, or for the prize and the grant. You cannot compete only for the grant.

Compete in the Forecasting Prize

We are hosting a Forecasting Prize Competition to develop an intelligent forecasting model that will predict contraceptive consumption.

USAID will award prizes to the top two intelligent forecasting models that most accurately predict future monthly use of contraceptives in each health service delivery site:

  • 20,000 USD prize for best performing model
  • 5,000 USD prize for second-best performing model

To compete, you must submit an intelligent forecasting model and Expression of Interest (EOI). As a competitor, you will receive a dataset to develop a forecasting model for service delivery sites in Côte d’Ivoire to predict future contraceptive use.

USAID will shortlist Forecasting Prize finalists to compete for the Field Implementation Grant based on the performance of their intelligent forecasting model and the quality of their EOI.

Compete for the Field Implementation Grant

You may also choose to compete for the Field Implementation Grant to customize, strengthen, and pilot the model(s) developed for the Forecasting Prize with selected health service delivery sites in Côte d’Ivoire.

The competitor with the best concept note will win a grant of approximately 100,000 to 200,000 USD to test their model in Côte d’Ivoire.

To compete for the Field Implementation Grant, indicate your interest in the Forecasting Prize entry form. Then, answer the additional questions related to your implementation approach included in the EOI with your Forecasting Prize entry form.

Co-Creation Activity

Shortlisted competitors will participate in a virtual co-creation activity. This activity will foster an open environment to allow innovators, USAID/Washington, USAID/Côte d’Ivoire, and local stakeholders to constructively engage with competitors. It will also allow competitors to engage with each other to strengthen their models and field implementation approach. If you decide to continue to compete for the grant, you will develop a concept note for review.

We will evaluate submitted concept notes and award grant funding to the highest scoring concept note.



Photos from top to bottom: AU-UN IT Photo/Abdi Dakan, USAID | DELIVER, AU/UN IST Photo/Abdi Dakan, Audrée Montpetit.

Competition Timeline
Competition Launched
July 14, 2020
The competition will remain open for eight weeks. During this time, you may submit questions to forecastingprize@usaid.gov.
Deadline for Questions
August 4, 2020
We will only answer questions submitted to forecastingprize@usaid.gov prior to 11:00 a.m. Eastern USA Time on this date. Questions will be answered during the webinar and posted online on the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Webinar
August 12, 2020

We hosted a webinar to answer the submitted questions in real time.

We posted the video and links to the Q&A under the Resources section of this page. The Q&A links have also been added at the top of the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Competition Entries Due
September 8, 2020
Complete entries, including model and EOI, must be received by 11:00 a.m. Eastern USA Time. Late entries will not be accepted.
Judging Period of Models and EOIs
September 9 - September 25, 2020
USAID will screen entries to make sure they meet all eligibility requirements. We will then evaluate EOIs and predictions, test the models, and develop a shortlist of competitors to participate in a virtual co-creation activity and submit concept notes.

Forecasting Prize Winners Announced
October 2020
USAID will publicly announce the two winners of the Forecasting Prize. All USAID decisions are final and not subject to review.
Co-Creation Activity
October - November 2020

Shortlisted competitors will be invited to participate in a virtual co-creation activity. This activity will include both competitors for the Field Implementation Grant and top competitors from the Forecasting Prize that are not applying for the Field Implementation Grant. You may only participate with an invitation.

Following the co-creation activity, competitors for the Field Implementation Grant will be asked to complete a concept note.



Deadline to Submit a Concept Note
December 2020
Participants in the co-creation activity will be asked to develop a concept note for review by an expert panel of judges to be considered for the Field Implementation Grant. The specific due date will be announced later.

Judging Period for the Field Implementation Grant
December 2020 - January 2021
A panel of expert judges will evaluate and shortlist the concept notes. A panel of experts will then interview competitors that submitted the shortlisted concept notes.

Field Implementation Grant Winner Announced
March 2021
The winner will be announced publicly. All USAID decisions are final and not subject to review.

Field Implementation Begins
April 2021
After a series of meetings with USAID staff and other stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire, the winner will initiate the grant to test their intelligent forecasting solution in the field.
Resources
Definitions:
  • Co-Creation: A collaborative approach that brings together a variety of stakeholders to collectively produce a mutually valued outcome, through a process that emphasizes shared knowledge and decision-making.
  • Consumption:The quantity of a good (in this case, a contraceptive) provided to or used by clients over a certain period of time.
  • Contraceptives: Any method, medicine, or device used to prevent pregnancy.
  • Forecasting Prize: A cash reward for the top two competitors for designing an intelligent forecasting model to predict contraceptive consumption.
  • Field Implementation Grant: A grant for an organization selected by USAID to field test their intelligent forecasting model in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Intelligent Forecasting: Use of empirically based modeling methods that include but not limited to statistical methods, complex adaptive models, advanced analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) to power decision making and enhance prediction accuracy over time.
  • Open Innovation: A process to access and leverage knowledge from outside an organization, in this case, USAID.
  • Service Delivery Site (Service Delivery Level): A site (or health system level/tier) which provides healthcare, in this case family planning services, to clients; i.e., a hospital, clinic, or any other health service delivery site.
Information About the Competition:

* This competition is an addendum of the Global Health BAA. To refer to the original BAA, click here.

Data Submission Template and Data for the Competition:

Note: You may download the data and accompanying dataset descriptions for the competition only after you have registered or logged into the online entry platform. Both the primary dataset and the secondary datasets are linked in the third section of the entry form.

Webinar:
There was a webinar on August 12, 2020 to answer the submitted questions about the competition.
The English recording of the webinar is below.



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