WFP Innovation Bootcamp brings game-changing ideas to empower farmers, women, and youth in the future of food
The World Food Programme (WFP)’s 2019 Innovation Challenge sourced over 700 new ideas to disrupt hunger from 95 countries around the world. Many of these ideas came from people already working within WFP’s global operations, but we also marked the most external applications ever received in an innovation challenge. Nine of the best ideas — four internal teams and five external teams —have been invited to attend the WFP Innovation Accelerator’s Innovation Bootcamp, 10–14 February 2020, in Munich, Germany.
Over the course of the five-day bootcamp, innovation experts will help each of these nine teams dive deep into challenges, ideate solutions, and refine their project plans. The bootcamp week culminates at an exciting Pitch Night, where the teams will present their groundbreaking ideas to international investors, government officials, and humanitarian partners.
Measuring Well-Being in the Humanitarian Context
Understanding and evaluating the well-being of a person is important in the prioritization and delivery of humanitarian nutritional assistance. But how do you measure the well-being of an individual when there are no established standards, and self-assessments are subjective, inconsistent, and unverifiable? Since muscle strength responds to early nutritional deprivation, the team is testing the idea that hand-grip strength is a viable marker of muscle strength and can be validated against other forms of nutritional assessment.
SEA is an app to improve awareness, reporting, and investigation of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) incidents. Independent reports measured 40% of women had experienced SEA when accessing services, including humanitarian aid; and that many incidents go unreported. The SEA mobile app provides a new way for informing beneficiaries of their rights; reporting incidents without having to go via a third party; and populating a database to facilitate investigation and predictive analysis.
Retail in a Box
Retail in a Box is a turnkey retail solution to kickstart local markets and accelerate market recovery. In some humanitarian circumstances where local marketplaces are still functioning, WFP may issue cash-based transfers instead of delivering traditional food aid, because it helps empower local communities to make their own decisions and purchase the food and goods they need, rather than rely on foreign food aid drops. But some humanitarian contexts lack functioning marketplaces due to disaster, conflict, or poor infrastructure. This is where Retail in a Box comes in, offering retail solutions such as building structures and layouts, tools, operating procedures and up-to-date retail technology. This sets the stage for local retailers to sell their goods, and consumers to spend the WFP cash-based transfers to get the food and supplies they need to recover.
“She Can’’ empowers mothers of children enrolled in WFP school feeding programmes by providing training on entrepreneurship and micro-loans to kick start and develop their own business. When micro-loans are repaid, more mothers are supported. Funds to finance the programmes are raised via WFP’s popular Share the Meal crowdfunding app. ‘’She Can’’ has already trained 53,000 mothers, provided more than 13,000 micro-loans enabling an income increase by 30–50%, is looking to expand to other countries, and secure more stable funding sources.
In Kenya, only 5% and in Rwanda only 3% of small holder farmers have access to finance mechanisms, which relegates them to low-quality or no agricultural inputs for their crops, and perpetuates the cycle of poverty. Agri-Wallet makes agri-finance simple, profitable and affordable. It is a unique digital finance entry point that supports the small holder farmer microeconomy. Farmers can buy supplies and sell their outputs, agri suppliers can receive payment from farmers for their supplies, and consumers can place orders and pre-pay for farmer produce.
Tracy Route Kick automates and streamlines inventory management and delivery workflow by easing how to trace goods and communicate progress in real-time. The system uses blockchain technology to issue a timestamped action journal for each package in the relief delivery phase, and can enhance the distribution by reducing bottlenecks and intermediaries. The team plans to test the idea in Yemen where supply chain has been disrupted by ongoing conflict and instability.
Low-income, informal sector workers are often excluded from traditional education and formal financial services. Mosabi’s engaging, mobile financial education links edtech and fintech by driving behaviour change through mobile learning and then harness data analytics to drive financial inclusion. Users are empowered to build profiles and make better decisions and behaviours about money, unlocking access to a marketplace of financial services and helping to drive livelihood impact outcomes.
Smallholder farmers constitute over 50% of the unbanked, and lack access to financial resources, while also being highly vulnerable to post-harvest losses and depreciating value chains for their crop sell-offs. Thrive Agric’s platform enables farmers to connect with a market for their harvest. Thrive’s agent network helps farmers aggregate their produce and move to buyers who want to off-take. The same agents help farmers access finance and inputs like seeds and fertilizer to plant.
Producers Direct promotes a model of digital farmers’ cooperative that is owned and led by smallholder farmers, in the form of a blockchain powered solution to food security. By providing training to youth and pioneering digital solutions, Producers Direct aims to build a bridge from youth to agriculture, empowering youth to take ownership and develop Africa’s agricultural systems, to safeguard the future of food.