The Public Sector Innovation Challenge

May 26, 2022
The Public Sector Innovation Challenge

The Malawi Government, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is calling for submission of proposals for the Public Sector Innovation Challenge, in line with ongoing efforts to support government institutions to adopt innovative reforms for improving public service delivery and the achievement of both the Malawi 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Enhanced public service delivery and implementation of public sector reforms that rectify institutional inefficiencies are an area of priority in the Malawi Implementation Plan (MIP-1), under Enabler 3: Enhanced Public Sector Performance.

This Innovation Challenge provides an opportunity for the public sector to identify challenges and opportunities for improving its performance to deliver services more effectively and efficiently using innovative approaches.

For the first round of this Challenge, submissions will be sought from Local Councils and focus on improvements in public service delivery - particularly Policy Priority Area 3.6.5 of the Public Service Management Policy: “Enhance Citizen Engagement in Public Service and Citizen-Centric Service Delivery”.

The Public Sector Innovation Challenge will use a merit-based and competitive process to identify winning submissions. The institutions of the selected awardees will receive support to test innovations so that they can be replicated in other institutions. The selection of winning submissions will be done by an independent panel, duly constituted with knowledge in public sector management and innovation.

Submissions will be received under two categories:

Category 1: Client-facing services and products: Applies to innovations that are outward looking, improve a tangible service (s) or product (s) that is used directly by clients.

Category 2: Inward-looking innovations: developed to improve a Council’s internal systems and process; can be business practice, workplace organization or finance systems intended to ultimately improve service delivery.


1.     All Local Councils are eligible to apply.

2.    Awards will not be made to individuals but to the institutions.

3.    Each council can only submit one proposal per category.

Deadline for Receipt of Applications

Deadline for application is Wednesday, 15th June 2022. Applications received after this date shall not be considered.

Application Procedures and Guidelines

1.     Councils are not restricted to apply to one category, but are only allowed to send one submission per category.

2.    The submission should demonstrate how the innovation will improve service delivery.

3.    The innovation should be clearly aligned to at least one pillar of Malawi 2063.

4.    The submission should clearly demonstrate that the proposed innovation can work.

5.    The submission should clearly demonstrate partnership building.

6.    The submission should provide a clear description of the implementation plan of activities and timelines.

7.    The submission must include a letter of endorsement from the District Commissioner or the Chief Executive Officer of the submitting local council.

8.    Submissions shall be made on a prescribed online entry form and shall not exceed a total number of prescribed words from the following link

9.    The selection of winning submissions will be done by an independent panel, duly constituted with knowledge in public sector management and innovation.

10.  The submission must include a completed application form that includes the following designated roles of the institution’s innovation team:

a.   Team Lead

A designated officer in the institution who will coordinate the innovation team on innovation validation, testing, refining and scaling.  The team lead will be the change agent of the institution and will work closely with the Public Sector Innovation Technical Committee.

b.   Innovation design and testing officer/Innovator

A designated officer who will be responsible to design new innovations for identified challenges or adapt existing innovations to suit identified challenges in the institutions. He/she will also be responsible in coordinating small scale testing & piloting of the innovations.

c.    Planning and strategic partnerships officer

A designated officer who will be responsible to explore possible partnerships (i.e with other MDAs, private sector or citizens) that could support design, testing, growing/institutionalizing the innovation.                                                          

d.   Young Professional (Not more than 35 years of age)

A young officer/intern who will work closely with the team to support administrative tasks for the team, reinforce solution validation, testing and implementation, document and share lessons with other MDAs for replication of the innovation.

*Councils are particularly encouraged to include females in the team.

Further information concerning the application form, procedures, and guidelines for application can be accessed from the Public Sector Reforms Management Unit website at 

For Councils facing connectivity challenges and those with any questions concerning this application process, please send your concerns to the Office of the Vice President through or call the following numbers: 0999957500/ 0888377551/0888441456 for guidance.