WFP’s Innovation Accelerator hosted its first innovation meet-up in Nairobi, Kenya, earlier this week. With less than three weeks remaining until the close of the Global Impact Challenge, we teamed up once more with Singularity University for a special event that brought together the brightest social entrepreneurs in East Africa.


From the offices of Growth Africa, one of Nairobi’s foremost innovation hubs, more than 80 people attended a joint mixer and design workshop. The meet-up began with a short networking on Monday evening. Entrepreneurs, change makers, designers, techies and creatives were joined by WFP staff from the local Country Office and East Africa Regional Bureau. Local start-ups presented their ideas and introduced the vibrant local innovation ecosystem. WFP staff and Singularity University’s Vice President of Impact, Nick Haan, took to the stage and encouraged participants to seize the opportunity presented by technology to solve hunger.

Inspired by the previous evening’s event, more than 20 people attended an interactive design workshop on Tuesday. Placing the human-centered design and lean start-up at the forefront, staff from the Accelerator challenged entrepreneurs and WFP staff alike to think through novel approaches to providing aid in emergency contexts. Participants were asked to put themselves in the shoes of communities struck by disaster; what tools could we provide to help people get back on their feet? Several rounds of feedback and iteration were concluded with a pitch style feedback session to a panel of WFP field experts.  


Some of the ideas included:

  • A harvest app for farmers that provides tips on planting and preserving crops and harvests;
  • A kitchen that provides a livelihood opportunities for local people who work to transform food waste into new dishes;
  • Airships – or blimps – for emergency food drops in the most remote, hard to reach areas.

The meet-up was the first of a series of planned events to connect with East Africa’s bustling innovation community. To participate in future events, sign up for the WFP Innovation newsletter and follow @wfpinnovation on twitter.  


What moonshot innovation would you develop using exponential technology to provide sustainable access to local and nutritious food in emergencies? Apply to the Global Impact Challenge before 10 March 2017.