Himalayan Cataract Project and The Carter Center Named as Semi-Finalists for $100 Million Grant

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An elderly cataract patient in Harar, Ethiopia ululates after realizing her eyesight has been fully restored.
Photo: Amanda Conde/HCP

WATERBURY, Vt.—The Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) and The Carter Center are two of the eight groups named as semi-finalists in 100&Change—a global competition for a $100 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The competition, launched in 2016 by the MacArthur Foundation, offers the grant to fund a single project which makes measurable progress toward solving a significant global problem.

“These eight ambitious proposals exemplify the passion, range and creativity of the hundreds of applications. We hope that the competition inspires individuals and organizations to be bold and think big, because solutions are possible,” stated Julia Stasch, president MacArthur Foundation.

The Himalayan Cataract Project has worked since 1995 to develop sustainable solutions for needless blindness throughout Asia and Africa. The organization first developed its systems in Nepal where the prevalence of blindness has fallen by two-thirds since the early 1990s, HCP stated.

HCP’s solution scales sustainable delivery systems in three countries where the bulk of resources are currently focused—Nepal, Ethiopia and Ghana. The organization aims to expand the models to include innovative, refractive programs that address uncorrected vision while also providing sustainable revenue generation. Most importantly, HCP and its partners will unlock the blueprint for sustainable eyecare delivery worldwide, in a manner that can be shared, replicated and scaled.

Founded by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, The Carter Center aims to eliminate transmission of river blindness disease in Nigeria, creating a model for the rest of Africa and the world.

Along with the Ministry of Health and local NGOs, the Center aims to work through community-directed distribution systems to administer Ivermectin—a drug proven to stop transmission of the disease—once or twice per year.

The Center will also train community level volunteers in the appropriate dosing and administration of the drug and provide health education to families and neighbors, creating a sustainable, rudimentary health care infrastructure in remote communities, the organization stated.

The winner of the $100 million grant will be announced later this year.