Deadline: 06-May-24

The Women in the Digital Economy Fund (WiDEF) is inviting local entities in the countries where USAID operates to submit applications for grants to scale existing solutions that have made measurable progress toward closing the gender digital divide in their contexts and contribute to transformative approaches to digital inclusion.

WiDEF will support entities that are rooted in the communities in which they seek to affect change and have demonstrated successful approaches to advancing gender equality and/or digital inclusion for women, girls, and marginalized populations, such as persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples.

WiDEF is committed to closing the gender digital divide by scaling evidence-based, proven solutions that improve women’s livelihoods, economic security and resilience.

They aspire to shifting the trajectory of digital ecosystems so that women and marginalized populations, including youth and young women; disabled, indigenous, LGBTQI+, and rural women, have equitable access to safe, affordable, and meaningful online participation.

To realize these goals, the WiDEF Consortium is announcing the first round of grant funding available for solutions working to close the gender digital divide.

This funding aims to scale proven solutions that have demonstrated, through credible evidence, that the solution:

  • Drives digital inclusion for women through meaningful access to and use of accessible digital technology, particularly smartphones and the internet.
  • Significantly closes the gender digital divide in their context.
  • Is economically sustainable and scalable.

The gender digital divide – and the digital exclusion of marginalized populations – is a function of complex, inter-related factors, such as restrictive social norms that often limit women’s use of digital technology and exacerbate symptoms of this divide.

Priority Areas

  • Eligible applications need to articulate the most prominent barriers facing the communities they aim to support and how they will address at least two core WiDEF priority areas:
    • Improved access to affordable devices and online experiences: Increase women’s access to the internet and internet-enabled devices, and ensure that devices, digitally enabled services, including digital finance, and data are affordable, reliable, secure, and accessible, including for users with disabilities.
    • Increased availability of relevant products and tools: Design, develop, and provide access to relevant products and tools (interfaces, voice technologies, applications, digitally enabled services) that meet women’s needs and facilitate women’s demand for and use of mobile devices and applications, particularly smartphones, internet, and other technologies, especially for income-generation purposes.
    • Elevating digital literacy and skills: Strengthen women’s digital skills and literacy, including media literacy, so that they can fully and safely access digital services, and participate and lead in digital spaces, including the digital economy.
    • Enhancing safety and security: Address technology-facilitated gender-based violence, including gender-based online harassment and abuse, and strengthen safeguards for digital user protection, including on consumer financial protection, data protection, cyber security, fraud, and risk mitigation.
    • Additionally, all applications need to commit to generating data and insights: Expand collection and responsible use of required sex-disaggregated data, research, and gender analysis (a) to better understand and address social norms and systems that influence gender disparities in technology adoption; (b) as a precursor to inform gender-equitable design of and activities related to digital policies, protocols, platforms, products, and services; and (c) to track and benchmark change.

Funding Information

  • Awards will be granted between $500,000 and $1,500,000. Please specify the total needed budget in the application form.


  • 18-24 months

Eligibility Criteria

  • Both local nonprofit and for-profit local entities are eligible for grant funding. Successful applications will propose:
    • A solution that advances digital inclusion broadly and aims to integrate and scale a proven solution to effectively address gender constraints and close the gender digital divide.
    • Specific integration of at least two of the core priority areas above, in addition to generating data and insights.
    • Clearly articulate which components of their existing or proposed programs are scalable across different contexts, and which are specific to the location/context of their pilot/current program.
    • Entities must have, or be able to adopt, gender-based violence mitigation policies for all digital inclusion activities
    • Entities need to meet USAID Eligibility Requirements
  • Preference will be given to women-led organizations proposing feminist, gender transformational solutions and entities with a demonstrated track record of supporting gender equality and the inclusion of marginalized populations. At least 50% of award funding will support entities in subSaharan Africa.

USAID Eligibility Criteria

  • All countries are eligible, excluding Afghanistan, Burma, China, Cuba, Haiti, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Venezuela; entries from India are ineligible for Round 1 funding as WiDEF will be launching India-specific funding opportunities in late 2024/early 2025.
  • Organizations need to fit the following USAID Local Entity criteria:
    • Is legally organized under the laws of a country that is receiving assistance from USAID;
    • Has its principal place of business or operations in a country receiving assistance from USAID;
    • Is majority-owned by individuals who are citizens or lawful permanent residents of a country receiving assistance from USAID; and
    • Is managed by a governing body, the majority of whom are citizens or lawful permanent residents of a country receiving assistance from USAID.
  • Entities have, or are in the process of obtaining, a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI).
  • Entities are familiar with applicable sections in the Mandatory and Required-as Applicable Standard Provisions for Non- U.S. Non-Governmental Organizations and sign and upload the necessary Recipient and Solicitation Standard Provisions certifications as part of the application.

For more information, visit WiDEF.