A year of innovation

Discover what a year full of creativity, bold ideas and success looked like for the World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator

In our Year in Review, we’ve distilled countless hours of research, impact evaluations, interviews and number crunching — looking back at the people, partners and ideas that shaped an extraordinary year for the Innovation Accelerator. It features some of the global start-ups and WFP entrepreneurs we supported in 2017 and provides a full overview of our game-changing innovations, some of which will continue to grow in 2018.

Here are a few highlights:

Blockchain-powered cash assistance for Syrian refugees in Jordan

Syrian refugees in Jordan use their eye’s iris to withdraw cash assistance from their WFP digital wallet. Photo: WFP/Mohammad Batah

At the beginning of last year, blockchain technology for WFP operations was simply an idea with big potential for a small team of enthusiastic finance, tech and innovation staff. Through a successful “proof of concept” in Pakistan, the WFP blockchain team tested the ability of the technology to smoothly authenticate, record and reconcile cash transactions. Months later, they launched a pilot to support Syrian refugees in Jordan. By the end of 2017, WFP was delivering cash assistance to 10,500 Syrian refugees in Jordan’s Azraq camp through a blockchain-based system — and by January 2018, the number had risen to 106,000.

In 2018, WFP aims to serve through blockchain all the 500,000 Syrians it supports in Jordan, expand the technology to two new countries and launch a UN inter-agency pilot.

Growing food in the desert with hydroponics

Women in Algeria use WFP’s low cost units to grow wheat and barley grass, which is used as animal fodder. Photo: WFP/Nina Schroeder

WFP is testing hydroponics, a water-efficient and soilless cultivation technique, to understand what it takes to grow food in some of the world’s toughest environments. Three different pilots are underway in Algeria, Jordan and Peru as a means of ensuring greater food security for vulnerable families living in challenging conditions.

Through a project called H2Grow, WFP tested various hydroponics solutions in 2017, moving from using an initial high-tech solar-powered container to designing and implementing small, DIY household units built with locally procured materials and at 10 percent of the cost. In Algeria, the installation of 50 units resulted in the production of 2,000 kg of fresh fodder for goats, which lead to a 250 percent increase in milk production and greater availability and quality of meat.

Interested in learning more?

Ending hunger requires a step-change in our approach. Thanks to technology, innovation and the brightest entrepreneurial minds, we can achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. To learn more about these exciting innovations, explore the WFP Innovation Accelerator’s Year in Review by clicking here.

The WFP Innovation Accelerator sources, supports and scales high-potential solutions to end hunger worldwide. We provide WFP staff, entrepreneurs, start-ups, companies and non-governmental organizations with access to funding, mentorship, hands-on support and WFP operations.

Find out more about us: http://innovation.wfp.org

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WFP Innovation Accelerator

WFP Innovation Accelerator


Sourcing, supporting and scaling high-impact innovations to disrupt hunger.