Central question: How can actors from decentralised levels of state - such as cities, districts and regions - join forces and create synergies across countries to find innovative solutions to sustainable development challenges?

  • The Decentralised Development Lab was created to address this question:
    • Formulate common challenges between German federal states and decentralised actors from partner countries
    • An up to twelve-month incubation and funding program
    • Teams from different federal states and their partner countries receive coaching, training, expert exchange, and financial support to develop solutions and maximize social impact for specific challenges

The Decentralised Development Lab has been launched by the German Government and Federal States Programme on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Process so far: The Decentralised Development Lab started in the beginning of 2021 with a Call for Challenges that was spread across the world. The DDLab team received more than 25 challenges that were handed in from federal states, research institutions, NGOs or governmental institutions from partner countries. Together with the BMZ the DDLab team selected four challenges. These challenges were refined together with the so called "Challenge Owners" to formulate a concise challenge question and develop a challenge description. All of this happened within an agile development process. The four developed challenges surrounded the topics sustainable e-mobility, inclusive digitalisation, female entrepreneurship and mangrove friendly aquaculture (you can learn more about the challenges below). In November 2021, the second phase of the DDLab started with the launch of the Call for Ideas. During this call, we were looking for teams of creative individuals and from diverse backgrounds to develop solutions to the four challenges (you can learn more about the Call for Ideas below). We received more than 180 ideas from all over the world! With a transparent selection process, we shortlisted 19 teams and conducted interviews with them to assess their ideas in more depth. In the end, four teams were selected which will now start with a five-month incubator program.

Current Status: Currently, we are preparing and launching the incubator program for the four selected teams. This program will last from March until August 2022. During this phase of the DDLab, the four selected teams will receive financial benefits (up to 20.000€ per team), coaching sessions, technical expertise and the opportunity to test and validate their solutions. You can learn more about the incubator program below.

Next Steps: At the end of the incubator program, one of the four teams will be selected for a further implementation phase with the duration of seven months and a financial benefit of up to 200.000€. During this implementation phase, they will receive further coaching and training sessions to develop and implement their idea and lay the foundation for its scalability to other regions. The other three teams that cannot be supported with further implementation will be assissted in finding other funding opportunities.

You can learn more about the Decentralised Development Lab here: Decentralised Development Lab - YouTube



Who are the Challenge Owners behind the Challenges?

Below you can find more information about the challenge owners of the four different challenges.

Sustainable and affordable e-mobility solutions
Inclusive Digitalisation

Challenge Question: How might we make active citizen participation inclusive for silent groups by involving them in the development of suitable solutions like One-Stop Shops?

Challenge Owner:

Female, rural entrepreneurship
Mangrove friendly aquaculture

Incubator Program - Who are the teams and what are their ideas?

After a thorough selection process, we selected four teams and their ideas who will go through an incubation program to further develop their idea. You can learn more about their ideas below.

Entrepreneurship Challenge - The SOPHIE CHAN Project: Digital platform for (potential) rural women entrepreneurs

The SOPHIE CHAN Project is the digital platform for (potential) rural female entrepreneurship. The idea is simple: Connect women in rural areas of Rwanda with an idea or running a small business with existing mentoring opportunities, webinars, acceleration projects and funding - on a digital platform / mobile application. We make it easy for them to find and get matched with local / regional / national opportunities as well as global opportunities that fit to their needs. 

Investing in women entrepreneurs, is simply smart economics.

Women experience great obstacles to the development of their business, especially in remote or disconnected areas: Difficult to access funding, lack of specific training and mentorship, the shortage of role models to inspire themselves, and the structural gender inequality.

Through an analysis with our local partners in Rwanda we identify the most urgent needs of rural women, why it is so difficult for them to create a business (ongoing - almost finished).

We collect national (from Rwanda) and international support programs of organizations, companies, NGOs, mentoring, funding programs relevant to this target group and set up a profile for them on the platform (in a later stage - organizations etc. can set up their own profile). 

At the same time female small businesses owners in rural Rwanda (or women with an idea for a business) can set up a simple profile on the online platform or the mobile app. A search algorithm identifies the right opportunities for women according to their search, stage of company, etc. 

The platform offers a learning data base / online education with step by step guides in local language. An online capacity building specially focused on rural female entrepreneurs needs. High quality webinars will be transcribes / translated in local language - and new ones filmed and upload with local role models.

We have an on-site team that supports women in uploading their profiles and using the simple and intuitive platform. In creating this online platform tailored to the women's' needs - we already push their self-esteem as they see that their work and ideas are valued and supported.  Through local offline hubs women can also directly exchange their experiences, fears and needs. 

In rural areas, digital skills are not available to everyone, so we believe it is essential, at first, to individually support the use of the platform. In this way, digitization is promoted among the target group without depriving them of the business opportunities found behind a screen and offering tools so that they can autonomously manage the platform in the future.

Sophie Chan itself is a learning journey. The women will transform it through their usage and Sophie Chan will adapt and respond with the respective offers to give the best support to the women. 

The SOPHIE CHAN Project is a matching platform where women organizations, mentoring initiatives, gender lens funds and women entrepreneurs can start their own love stories, whether in the local, regional or finally an international context.


Aline Uwase : Head of local coordination called The HappyNes

Muhire Bayingana Flora: Community manager in The HappyNes

Anja Schloesser: Head of IT

Guillian Ruzindana: UX Designer

Andrea Bury: International coordination

Clara Font: Project manager

E-Mobility Challenge - TRANSISI: One-stop assets and investment management solution on E-mobility

TransJakarta, the city-owned bus operator, has planned to expand its electric buses (e-bus) fleet over the decade as the city is trying to push for cleaner air and reduce the 36% of total transportation greenhouse gas emissions citywide. However, due to the high capital cost, limited technical knowledge and personnel operational experience, the adoption of the e-bus has been slow. The high capital cost is due to including, but not limited to, E-bus procurement, maintenance, and the charging infrastructure. This result to have higher service fee/km of e-buses compared to conventional diesel buses.

To accelerate the implementation of e-buses in Jakarta, electrification of public transport must be approached as a coherent system that comprises the bus vehicle, the infrastructure, the passengers, the stakeholders, the operation and its sustainable financial. Having a contracting and financing mechanism which address the high upfront issues and attract the investment could help accelerate the e-bus adoption.

Proposed Business Model
To tackle the high upfront cost issues and attract the investment, the business model is modified by increasing the number of the involved stakeholders and optimizing the business process in the system. The proposed business model is the modification of the existing TransJakarta business model with the additional stakeholders: Investors, technology manufacturers, electricity company, and Transisi. See also the Grand Design Idea in the attachment.

Charging Infrastructure Investment Viability
Our preliminary study shows that the charging infrastructure investment have IRR higher than bank interest rate in Indonesia with the value 6-14%. Furthermore, the Payback period ranging 6 - 10 years. This proves that the investment of charging infrastructure to support the implementation of E-bus for TransJakarta is financially viable given the above information and assumption. Moreover, as comparison to the current TransJakarta scheme of implementation plan, it will increase the service fee cost for about 5-6% with the total investment cost reduction of 950 thousand USD to 11 million USD.

Carbon Footprint Reduction Impact
The result of our preliminary study shows that in 2025, using e-buses instead of conventional diesel bus will reduce the carbon footprint of Transjakarta trips as much as 5.75% (from 11.39 kg CO2eq/trip to 9.88 kg CO2eq/trip) - under the assumption our grid emission factor will reach the national’s target of being reduced from 828 g CO2eq /kWh to 701 CO2eq kWh. Carbon tax and trading schemes can be explored for the business model as well once the national’s electricity mix allows a lower carbon footprint of electric buses compared to conventional buses.


The Role of TRANSISI
The importance of creating a collaborative environment for e-bus implementation is the most important element of this transition. The partnership among e-bus operator, e-bus owner, e-bus investors and charging infrastructure investors have to be established, therefore, TRANSISI offers a wide range of collaboration and facilitate the following roles within the scope of work, Fund & Asset management and Operation & Maintenance. Generally, TRANSISI is divided into two core Teams:

TRANSISI E-bus includes the purchasing, management, and maintenance of the entire e-bus infrastructure. It provides first level of support when it goes to the maintenance and troubleshooting. The fund is used to purchase e-buses from the manufacturers. The revenue is made by leasing the e-buses to the e-bus operators. At the end of their lifetime, the E-buses can be refurbished or sold.

TRANSISI Charging includes the management of the entire charging infrastructure life cycle including design, construction and replacement. It also consists of various O&M activities such as monitoring, operation, and maintenance management as a first level of support. The fund is therefore used to purchase and construct charging infrastructure. The revenue is collected by selling the electricity for e-buses charging purposes. The profits are shared between the investors.

Further information can be found in this video: TRANSISI E-mobility solutions challenge GIZ - YouTube

Mangroves Challenge - IoT Based Digital Platform Development To Enhance Aquaculture Innovation


Lembar Selatan Village is one of 10 villages in Lembar Sub-district, West Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara Province. This Village is one of the main entrances to the province of West Nusa Tenggara because it has a sea port area. The village is an expansion region from Lembar Village since July 13, 2010. The region approximately has an area of ​​around ± 6.81 km². Most of it is the residential area inhabited by around 3.442 households with a total of 10.723 populations, consisting of 5.436 male and 5.287 female, in which was spread over 11 hamlets, with regional boundaries that is close to the Northwest region of the Lombok Strait. The location of Lembar Selatan Villages is in the coastal region that has dry and rainy climate, which has a direct influence on the activities of fishermen in the region.

Based on the census data in 2019, of the 3.442 households, only around 2.140 families (62%) were recorded as having a job, the remaining 38% were assumed to be unemployed. From around the 2.140 families, 32.7% are working as traders, 23.4% are fishermen, 20.3% are breeders and the rest are working in the private sector, farmers, farm workers, civil servants, and craftsmen. From the result of field interviews in the village, the income of average households per month is around IDR.400,000 to IDR.2,500,000. Only few families have income above IDR.2,500,000, namely those who work as entrepreneurs and private employees in the Lembar Selatan Harbor area. In general, about 60% of the population is of working age (15-64 years).

Lembar Selatan Ecotourism (ELS)

Lembar Selatan Village has a tourist area called Lembar Selatan Ecotourism (ELS) which covers four hamlets, namely Cemare, Puyahan, Pesanggaran and Sepakat. The ELS area consists of a coastal area, a sacred grave area, and a mangrove conservation forest area. The coastal areas in Lembar Selatan Village have their own uniqueness with sea waves ranging from the largest to the smallest. The northern coastal area has big waves that are suitable for foreign tourists that are looking for beautiful scenery. The central region has sunset points and culinary areas, while the southern part of the village that has relatively small waves is the destination for culinary and camping ground area in which is suitable for families vacancies.

The sacred tomb as a religious tourism destination in Lembar Selatan Village has its own uniqueness because the tomb area is located in the middle of the sea. This tomb is believed to be the resting place of Syaikh Alwi Al Bagdadi, who spread Islamic religions in the ancient past. To get to the sacred tomb we have to use a canoe or boat. Meanwhile, there are mangrove conservation areas with enchanting mangrove forests which are known as the Lembar Selatan Ecotourism (ELS) destination. The mangrove area has ​​about 60 hectares in which covers 4 hamlets, namely Cemare, Puyahan, Pesanggaran and Sepakat. In the mangrove region live various types of marine animals such as fish, shrimp, mangrove crabs and others. The mangrove forest also can be accessed using a canoe or boat. In addition to its natural and environmental resources, the Lembar Selatan Village also has a rich cultural diversity which is reflected in daily life. Few examples of which are the customs in wedding processions and religious celebrations, as well as cultural arts expression that resembles Islamic influences such as beleq drum (gendang), hadrah, and dzikir saman.

The ELS region is also close to the harbor area, so that we can see many boats going back and forth that cannot be seen in other areas in West Lombok. To maximize the potential that exists in ELS, Lembar Selatan Village administration conducted a study in collaboration with Cinta Holiday Care and the M-Power team in March 2020. This study is elaborated as research and planning stages with the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and Logical Framework Approach (LFA) approaches that directly involves local communities in Lembar Selatan Village. A participatory research of the ELS region produces an overview of the potential for ELS further development, including some of the challenges which are linked to the impact of climate change and the increased sea level in the surrounding region. The study also reflects some desirable impacts from certain interventions, including education on mangrove conservation regions, provision of public facilities, including the development of creative economy and entrepreneurship among local communities.

Mangrove Conservation and Disaster Risk Reduction

In order to develop the mangrove conservation areas, several groups have carried out mangrove nursery activities in the ELS area. One of them is the Mangrove Lestari community, which from 2013 to 2019 has produced around 88.850 mangrove tree seedlings. The seeds that have been produced are planted in the area of ​​33.4 hectares, with a distribution area of ​​91% within the ELS area and the remaining 9% outside the ELS area. In the context of preserving the mangrove region, the Lembar Selatan Village administration has made the village regulation No. 4/2019 concerning the protection and conservation of the Mangrove forest. Because it is located in a coastal area, Lembar Selatan Village has a high level of vulnerability to tidal waves and flood disasters. In the ELS area, there are tidal floods that happen almost every month. Sea level rise caused by tides usually occurs during the full moon. The highest tidal flood occurred in December 2021, which inundated residential areas and entered residents' homes.

To prevent the flood and reduce the disaster risk in Lembar Selatan region, the West Nusa Tenggara Regional Government through the West Nusa Tenggara Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) has implemented an institutional strengthening program in 2015. This program is developed through community empowerment initiatives by establishing a disaster resilient community taskforce in Lembar Selatan Village. This effort is made to build community preparedness directly affected by the flood disaster. The program was also developed to support residents to have disaster management initiatives by utilizing their knowledge and resources to minimize the risks caused by disasters, both the risk of loss of property and the risk of loss of life. In regards to overcoming the tidal flood, currently the residents of Cemare hamlet have worked together with the village administration and other government agencies around the Lembar Selatan Village to raise and build an embankment for approximately 3 km.

Proposed Ideas 

Referring to the above-mentioned descriptions, the ideas proposed for the DD Lab project consist of the following programs and activities:

  1. Lembar Selatan Village Mangrove Ambassador Program for Reducing World Carbon Emissions, including:

    • Conservation education through formal education institutions (primary to high school education), as well as non-formal institutions in the village (youth community, women empowerment and healthcare group, coastal literacy community, fishermen groups, mangrove cultivation groups), etc.;
    • Implementation of appropriate IoT technology to support education and mangrove conservation region in Lembar Selatan Village;
    • Strengthening mangrove conservation institutions to ensure the sustainability of mangrove conservation efforts in the region.
  2. Development of aquaculture activities such as cultivation of mangrove crab, vaname shrimp and milkfish pond, as a source of income for coastal communities, including:

    • Transfer of knowledge and utilization of IoT technology to local community and small holder fisherman in making and utilization of smart aquaculture practice in mangrove region;
    • Cultivation and processing of mangrove crabs by local community and smallholder fisherman enhanced with IoT platforms;
    • Strengthening coastal communities and small business institutions in the mangrove region.
  3. Strengthening of management and institutions, as well as integration of mangrove conservation program with eco-friendly tourism as the main part of the Lembar Selatan Ecotourism (ELS) destination, with the following tour packages:
    • Explore the mangrove forest using a local canoe/fishing boat which is managed in an environmentally friendly manner. This tour package includes:
      • Introduction of mangrove areas to the tourists;
      • Visit to the mangrove conservation center;
      • Mangrove seed planting by tourist and visitor in which will be tags with their name;
      • Visiting the Lembar Selatan Mangrove Ambassador competition program.
    • Development of a floating culinary platform in the mangrove region with processed food made from mangrove crabs and mangrove fruit as the main menu.
  4. Integration of the existing tidal floods and tsunami early warning system with the online disaster mitigation platform, including the development of IoT platforms for disaster education and mitigation, as well as real time information services via smartphones for the surrounding community to build disaster preparedness effort. This initiative will be developed in collaboration with the regional disaster management agency and the social service institution at district level.
Inclusive Digitalisation Challenge - Ba11y-Crowdsource digital accessibility reporting platform

BA11y is a platform where organisations and People with Disabilities (PwDs) can work together to discover accessibility issues in their digital assets such as websites, documents and applications. It invites active participation for silent groups, in this case, PwD-mainly blind and low vision users, to contribute by submitting reviews so that related stakeholders can get awareness directly from the beneficiaries (affected users). PwD becomes not only the end-users but also the collaborators. This enables organisations to take actions to improve the accessibility of their digital assets to cater for their PwD users.

In general, BA11y is an issue tracker tailored specifically for accessibility issues. There are two ways PwD and non-PwD users submit their accessibility issues: by submitting the issue manually in detail with description and screenshots and by submitting the URL of their website or URL of the applications. BA11y automated tools will scan accessibility issues based on WCAG as well as mobile platform accessibility standards and create a draft report. Both reports will be posted on the platform and everybody who has access to the platform can verify or comment on the issue.

CALL FOR Ideas - November 15th 2021 to January 9th 2022 (Closed)

The objective of the #DecentralisedDevelopmentLab's Call for Ideas is to select the best 4 Solution Providing Teams that will address the 4 published Challenges with the support of an Incubator Programme. 


What is the Call for Ideas about?

In this phase we turn to you as international and regional experts and public servants, start-ups and creative minds to find innovative ideas to four predefined challenges. We foster exchange, so that idea providers whose expertise potentially complements each other can form interdisciplinary, diverse and effective teams for the challenges. By means of co-creative idea development formats, agile coaches support you in placing, formulating and, if necessary, further developing your idea.

Based on a jointly developed set of criteria, a winning idea will be selected for each challenge, and their teams will enter the incubation phase of the Decentralised Development Lab.

Who can apply?

We are looking for individuals and gender-diverse teams with various backgrounds and experiences who can contribute their expertise and creative energy to one of the four challenges. At this early stage, it is more important that we create strong teams than having your ideas fully elaborated yet.

👉 Social and public innovators, social entrepreneurs, innovative start-ups and socially oriented small and micro enterprises

👉 Experts for topics that are related to the challenges: Researchers & PhDs, research institutions and associations, universities and colleges

👉 Governmental and quasi-governmental institutions

👉 Experts for new technologies, programmers and digital entrepreneurs

What are your benefits?

👉 Financial support equivalent of up to 50,000€ for your team and the chance to win a follow-up package worth up to 200,000€.

👉 Access to an international network of subject matter experts, agile coaches, public and social innovators and creative minds

👉 Accompanying events and workshops to connect and co-create with other idea providers    

👉 1-on-1 coaching, curated tools and content to support your journey through the Decentralised Development Lab