The WFP Innovation Accelerator has launched the 2019 Innovation Challenge, inviting innovators from around the world to submit out-of-the-box proposals to end hunger.
Now in its sixth year, the Challenge is WFP’s global innovation competition, awarding funding, recognition and support to WFP employees, start-ups, and entrepreneurs revolutionizing how the problem of global hunger is addressed.
Building Blocks, WFP’s blockchain pilot, is one example of a bold idea that was supported through the Innovation Challenge. In just 12 months, a team headed by Houman Haddad, a WFP Finance Officer in Cairo, brought the vision to reality. Today, more than 100,000 Syrian refugees receive their WFP-provided assistance through a blockchain-based system.
Searching for scalable solutions
This year’s campaign challenges employees to innovate scalable solutions to fight hunger in three priority areas: the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, emergency response, and supply chain. A fourth “wildcard” category welcomes bright ideas to transform the lives of the people WFP serves from any topic area.
Winning teams will be invited to the Accelerator’s February 2020 Innovation Bootcamp in Munich, Germany, and may also be eligible for US$ 100,000 in funding, hands-on support, and access to a global network of external experts.
The Challenge is specifically seeking projects that recognize the importance and necessity of gender equality in achieving Zero Hunger, as well as projects that are led by women and have diverse teams. Promoting gender equality in WFP’s work enables food security and nutrition for all.
Building on past successes
Since launching in 2016, the WFP Innovation Accelerator has supported more than 50 bold solutions to disrupt hunger, eight of which are now scaling up in multiple countries around the globe.
Among the projects scaling up is H2Grow, a low-tech hydroponic solution enabling vulnerable people to grow food in harsh environments across eight countries, using no soil and 90 percent less water than traditional agriculture.
In September, Taleb Brahim—an engineer, refugee, and the founder of H2Grow—spoke about the importance of locally-driven innovation at the UN General Assembly in New York City. He emphasized that anyone can be an innovator:
“Hydroponics works not only because it is a good technique, but more importantly, because it allows people to become part of their own solution," said Brahim. “You have the power to create transformative change like this has done for me and my community.”
How to take part
Applications can be submitted until Friday 25 October at 11:59PM CEST. To learn more and start an application, visit the apply page of the WFP Innovation Accelerator website.