In 2014, Ku McMahan, the team lead for Securing Water for Food, was battling with a major player in his program: A custom-built application intake system.

During the challenge’s second call, the system had been more of a hindrance than a help. Beyond general usability issues, the system had sent acceptance letters to rejected candidates, adding a group of confused and frustrated applicants to Ku’s list of woes. It was time for a change.

After issuing an RFP to solicit new solutions, SWFF switched to Screendoor. Not only did the process run smoothly and without bugs, but Ku no longer had to rely on a consultant to make changes to the application form or review process. Without that layer of technical jargon and external reliance, Ku was able to take control of the program, saving himself and others hours of wasted time.

Screendoor’s effortless drag-and-drop form builder, coupled with its suite of workflow and collaboration tools, simplified what had previously been an intense, complex technical evaluation process. Unsurprisingly, SWFF renewed their license to run a fourth call in 2016 and received over 500 applications—nearly a third of all applications received over four calls for proposals.

About the Program

Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development is providing a steady flow of water for food production by identifying and funding innovative solutions. Each year, the U.S. Agency for International Development (along with cooperating agencies in Sweden, the Netherlands, and South Africa) runs a call for proposals and receives interest from partners around the globe.


applications received over
 four calls for responses
follow-up messages sent inside Screendoor
of all applications received from developing countries

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“With applicants from all over the world and reviewers across several agencies, Securing Water for Food can be complex. When we were using custom software, we had to rely on a consultant to make small changes to the application form or review process. Now, we collect, review, and rank all of the applications in one place, without a middleman. Screendoor is a lifesaver!”
Photo of Ku McMahan Ku McMahan Director at USAID's Center for Development Innovation

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