ResilientAfrica Network

YSiG FAQs « Back to Application

1. What is RAN?

The ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) funded by USAID is a partnership targeting 20 partner universities in 16 African countries. The main agenda of RAN is to strengthen resilience of communities vulnerable to shocks and stresses in Sub-Saharan Africa through university led-local African innovative solutions. ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) is led by Makerere University, with the secretariat at School of Public Health. It is one of eight university development labs under the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) of USAID’s Global Development Lab. RAN’s core partners are Tulane University’s Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA), Stanford University, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). RAN comprises four Resilience Innovation Labs (RILabs), namely, the East African RILab hosted by Makerere University in Uganda, the Horn of Africa RILab hosted by Jimma University in Ethiopia, the South Africa RILab hosted by University of Pretoria in South Africa, and the West Africa RILab hosted by the University of Development Studies in Ghana.

2. What are RAN’s Thematic Areas?

RAN has six thematic areas which are summarized here by RILab.

1. What is the objective of YSiG?

To effectively tap into the immense innovation potential of students in solution development, the Youth Spark Innovation Grants (YSiG) seek to recognize and support promising and creative ideas from students at RAN partner universities across Africa.

By leveraging creativity of students and the power of competition to drive innovation, Youth Spark Innovation Grants (YSiG) provides a great platform for students across all disciplines to use their creativity, passion and knowledge to create solutions that will contribute to resilience of African communities. Student projects may range from the feasible to the fanciful, as long as they address a resilience challenge within a community and apply innovation to strengthen community resilience. For more information please click here

2. What are the levels of funding available under this call?

Students will receive grants ranging from US$1,000 – US$3,000 to further develop and refine their ideas, approaches, or simple prototypes that will contribute to causing positive community change and strengthen resilience.

3. How can I learn more about RAN’s Thematic Areas of focus and the topics for YSiG?

Links to useful online resources that provide background information on RAN’s Thematic Areas of Focus and the YSiG Topics are available online at:

4. What are the YSiG timelines?

The key YSiG timelines are highlighted here

1. Who is eligible to apply for YSiG?

Applicants must be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate academic program at a RAN Partner University. The list of RAN Partner Universities are:

  • Africa University
  • Benadir University
  • Bule Hora University
  • Gulu University
  • Jimma University
  • Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Makerere University
  • Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences
  • Sheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar
  • University for Development Studies
  • University of Addis Ababa
  • University of Education-Winneba
  • University of Kinshasa
  • University of Limpopo
  • University of Nairobi
  • University of Pretoria
  • University of Rwanda
  • University of Sciences, Techniques and Technology of Bamako

Student projects must be student initiated, student led, and in line with the respective RILab thematic area. Faculty, staff, and external partners may only play an advisory role for student teams. The call is open to students from any discipline.

More information about the rules for eligibility are in YSiG call and available online here

2. Who is not eligible to apply?

Students who are not registered with RAN Partner Universities are ineligible to apply. The list of RAN Partner Universities is available on the eligibility section

Other students ineligible to apply include any individuals participating in, linked to, or sponsoring subversive activities including criminal acts, terrorism or related activities. A background check will be conducted on all students considered for the grants for their status regarding United States Government (USG) Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) sanctions lists.

3. How do teams form?

Teams form around a team leader. The leader has five responsibilities:

  1. Build a team of project members based on their experience and expected contribution to the team
  2. Provide a short profile of each member including their experience plus their role and responsibilities on the team
  3. Obtain letter of reference from the appropriate university department
  4. Act as the point of contact for RAN
  5. Coordinate the team members to respond to the YSiG call, and project implementation upon award

4. Can I get together with anyone to create a team, or do the teams have to be students from RAN Partner Universities?

Students can submit applications by themselves as individuals, or they can submit applications as a team.

All students whether as individuals or as a member of the team must be students from RAN Partner Universities. The list of RAN Partner Universities is available here

5. I am a Faculty Member/Innovator/Entrepreneur/NGO/Community Based Organisation, can I team up with students to apply?

Faculty/Innovators/Entrepreneurs/NGOs/CBOs can act as Mentors on a project, but the main applicants should be students. Mentors can support students to apply. However, the grants opportunity is for students.

6. Can a student apply from a university besides the RAN Partner Universities?

Students who are not registered with RAN Partner Universities are ineligible to apply. The list of RAN Partner Universities is available here

7. Can I apply for more than one topic in the same thematic area and under the same context?

Yes, you will be able to apply concurrently for any of the topics that you wish as applicable to your associated RILab’s thematic area. Each application will require a new application form to be completed.

Information on the RILab thematic areas and the YSiG topics is available here

8. What happens after I have submitted my application?

All applications undergo a robust assessment process by a selected team of experts. The grant website will contain information on the status of the applications at the different stages. However, tracking of any application will be provided for the entire batch of applications and not for individual applications.

9. Is there any kind of documentation needed for this call?

The online application platform details exactly what is required to support your submission. For more details you can download the complete YSiG document.

1. How do I register to apply for the YSiG call?

Register to apply for the YSiG call via an online platform at Click on the “Apply Now” button at the home page, and you will have access to information about YSiG including the resilience challenge, the topics to be considered for YSiG, eligibility criteria, evaluation criteria, and the YSiG application timelines.

When you are ready to apply, click the ‘Apply’ tab and then the ‘Proceed to Application’ button.

You will first be asked to register with your e-mail and password before you start the process. An e-mail is sent to you which you reconfirm to create an account. Upon confirmation of registration, you will now be in position to access the YSiG Application Form. You will be able to edit and save your application as you continue to work upon it.

Applications for YSiG will be accepted from 25th November 2015 until 8th February 2016 (by 11:59 pm GMT).

2. How do I apply?

The full application should be submitted via RAN grants’ website: All applications must be submitted via this platform and RAN will not accept applications submitted via any other means including via regular mail, facsimile, or email. All applications must be complete when submitted. RAN reserves the right to request additional information from applicants if necessary.

Applicants will need to identify the thematic area, topic of innovation challenge, and associated RILab selected for their application. Only student applications related to the thematic area of focus of their associated RILab will be considered. More information about RILabs’ areas of focus is available in the ‘The State of African Resilience: Understanding dimensions of vulnerability and adaptability’ report that is accessible at

During application, enter details about your project as requested in the sections of the YSiG application form. You will also need to upload a copy of your project work plan and budget. Please allow at least 30 minutes for the entire application process.

Once you have submitted your proposal, you will receive a confirmation email. Applicants must ensure that their applications are successfully submitted on the platform in their entirety. Note that prior to submission, you will be able to edit, save and access your application as often as you would like as you continue to work upon it. However, after submission of your application, you will only be able to view it or to delete it, if you find necessary to do so.

3. My team already has a refined prototype and is ready to scale, can we apply for YSiG?

Yes, you can apply. The maximum YSiG grant is US$3,000, and if this is less than what you need you will need to show how you expect to raise the additional funds required

4. My innovation cuts across all the thematic areas, which particular one do I select?

You should select a thematic area of your choice so long as it is the area of focus for the RILab your university is associated with. The list of RAN Partner Universities per RILab is available here

1. What happens once I have sent my application?

All applications undergo a robust assessment process by a selected team of experts in the YSiG topics. The grant website will contain information on the status of the applications at the different stages. However, tracking of any application will be provided for the entire batch of applications and not for individual applications.

2. How will the applications be judged?

An Expert Panel will review all the applications submitted under each RILab and associated partner universities. The Panel may decide to invite shortlisted applicants to a pitch as deemed necessary. The Expert Panel will recommend to RAN and thereafter to USAID the selected teams for funding.

RAN anticipates identifying and funding up to thirty (30) student projects that contribute to the thematic areas across the RILabs. (RAN reserves the right to award a larger or smaller number of grants.) Students will be selected based on the quality of their applications and the proposed project’s potential contribution to strengthen resilience in RAN’s target communities. Students are encouraged to show how they will work with different stakeholders to leverage their projects as a mobilization tool for community change.

General judging information can be found in the Evaluation Criteria section by clicking here

3. How much time after I submit an application will it take for me to find out if I won?

Applicants will be kept informed by email as the competition and the applications progress through the various stages of review and the final decision.

4. How do I know my ideas will be protected?

The RAN team and all YSiG Judges are requested to treat information and materials received through student applications as confidential. RAN and the Judges further agree not to share such information or materials with anyone else outside the review team without prior consultation with applicants. However, RAN and the Judges will not be responsible for any information that was already known to the public. Prior to acceptance, all YSiG Judges are expected to sign an agreement with RAN for non-disclosure of confidential information in the student applications

1. I cannot access the application form please help

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2. Can I edit my application form before and after submission?

You can only edit your application form before submission. You are able to save your draft application as you work on it and continue working on the draft application later on. This is done by clicking on the “Save Application” button at the bottom of the form. You are encouraged to save your application as frequently as possible to prevent ant potential loss of your information.

You will not able to edit your application form after it’s submitted. The application is submitted when you click on the “Submit Application” button at the bottom right corner of the application form.

3. How can I retrieve a saved draft application for further editing?

You can view your saved draft application(s) whenever you login to your account. Simply click on My Account (at the top right of the menu bar) and select “My Applications”.

4. Can I view my application after I have submitted it?

Yes, you can view your application after you have submitted it by following the steps above.

However, you will no longer be able to edit your application after you have submitted it. You will only be able to view the application or to delete the application

5. Can I submit another application to replace the one already submitted (e.g. if the first one was submitted with errors)?

You can submit another application but it will be treated as a new application and not as a replacement of the one already submitted.

If you believe an application has been submitted with errors or for any other reason, you can delete the application and create a new application. Note that you will receive a warning to confirm that you indeed wish to delete your application and you will NOT be able to retrieve deleted applications

6. I have accidentally reset my form, can my work be recovered?

You can only recover the draft applications that were previously saved. You are advised to save the applications as frequently as you can to prevent potential loss of your information. To save your draft application, click on the “Save Application” button at the bottom of the form

7. I forgot my password. What can I do?

If you forgot your password, you can simply reset it by clicking on the Forgot Password Link at the login page. You will receive an email with instructions on how to reset the password. If you do not receive the email, check in the spam folder.

For more information and to apply, please visit Applicants may email any questions on the call or on any aspect of the application process to ysig@ranlab.orgor call +256 414 343 597

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