The Kenya Country Office is a pioneer in innovation. In 2011, it became the first WFP country office to establish an innovation unit. Since then, we have been co-creating, curating, and amplifying empowering, sustainable, and ground-breaking solutions that propel us towards our goal of Zero Hunger. 

We continue to revolutionize WFP operations in Kenya by leveraging the best practices from the start-up world, building connections within the global innovation ecosystem. 

Our focus is on scalability and impact. Our sturdy pillars—Innovation Services, Sprint, and Scale Up—assess, nurture, and scale innovative ideas for maximum effect. We are committed to localized innovation that is inclusive, with a special focus on gender-sensitive solutions that uplift vulnerable women and youth, promoting inclusivity and empowerment. 

Our portfolio of projects currently impacts over half a million beneficiaries. In the coming years, we plan to positively influence the lives of over 1.5 million individuals.  

Our Work
  1. Innovation Consultancy Services: In this pillar, we strive to make innovation a core part of our organizational culture. We work with WFP, the Government of Kenya, and other partners to build their capacity on design thinking. Guided by human centred design principles, we work with these teams to conduct user research, co-creation workshops, and rigorous prototyping and testing to generate deep insights and craft finely tuned solutions that have the potential to transform lives.
  2. Innovation Sprint Programme: This pillar forms the core of our operations. We identify and explore innovative ideas from within and outside WFP that have the potential to solve relevant real-world problems. We field test or pilot the ideas in the areas that WFP operates to understand how the project can best contribute to ending hunger. We continuously learn and adapt to the dynamic and often challenging contexts to ensure the final product is ready to scale. Guided by lean start up and agile methodologies, we ensure the solutions are tested in a rapid and cost-effective manner, delivering value to the organisation.  

3) Scale-Up: This pillar is a vital connection that links our work with the Government of Kenya. Through our flagship county-level innovation centres, we work closely with the Government, other UN agencies, and strategic partners to scale innovative solutions across Kenya. We empower local innovators to build community-driven solutions that bring about long-lasting, meaningful, and transformative change, and we support the government to develop policies that enable local innovation.  

Innovation Projects
County Innovation Centre
County level Innovation Centers
Scale-up Phase
The Innovation Unit is decentralizing WFP’s efforts to impact food security and foster innovation ecosystems at county level. This will leverage the successful partnership between the Government and WFP to support the design, set up and running of County-level Innovation Centres (CICs).
The overall goal of the CICs is to support the development of highly scalable, field tested, innovative solutions that support strengthening of resilience for vulnerable populations in the Arid and Semi-Arid lands. These innovation centers are designed to be safe spaces for county government staff, beneficiaries, and innovators to access training on innovation methodologies to develop solutions to problems faced in the counties and beyond. The centers will also provide deep field access where innovative solutions are tested rapidly with the target beneficiaries for richer learnings. Additionally, the centres will provide access to funding opportunities for innovative ideas, entrepreneurs, and startups.
Scale-up Phase
H2Grow is WFP's hydroponics initiative that brings locally adapted and affordable hydroponic solutions to vulnerable communities. WFP is leveraging on learnings to provide technical support to local farmers implementing hydroponics.

The Innovation Unit is exploring blended finance models that will contribute to reducing the cost of hydroponics to facilitate scale and broad adoption of the solution. The Unit is also supporting a global Community of Practice around hydroponics through the H2Grow Platform, and the roll-out of hydroponics training for farmers through the Hydro App.
MEZA | AI-based OCR App
Scale-up Phase
WFP has invested in MEZA - which translates to ‘table’ in Swahili - an artificial intelligence (AI) solution that uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to decode handwritten medical data into machine-readable information. The solution also assists in consolidating this data into the national government’s health database to support accurate and timely reporting on health treatment for effective management of acute malnutrition. MEZA is designed to specifically support remote health centres that have limited access to electricity and internet, preventing them from using the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system currently being deployed in the country.
Scale-up Phase
WFP’s EMPACT (EMPowerment in ACTion) programme is a digital livelihoods programme delivering a blended curriculum that combines technical and soft skills training curriculum through a learn-and-earn model that also connects trainees to digital work opportunities.

EMPACT was launched at the Kibera Town Center in 2021 following the socio-economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, more than 1,000 youth have been trained under the programme with 41 percent earning money from online work.
Previous Projects
Cash for assets
Cash for Assets
In-kind assistance may help in the short-term, but it harms local economies and limits beneficiaries' choices. Since 2011, WFP Kenya has been leveraging cash transfers via the thriving fintech ecosystem in Kenya to deliver food assistance. The cash transfers are a better solution because they stimulate economies, empower the people we serve, and reduce costs.
School children eating a meal
Cash for Schools
In-kind assistance has proven to have negative long-term effects on the food security of communities that receive this kind of assistance. In 2013, WFP sought to address this by changing the transfer modality of the school feeding programme, where stable markets were found. This was done to amplify the impact of the school meals programme, by not only providing school going children with adequate nutrition, but also supporting local farmers and retailers in the local market, thereby improving the food security of the entire community. This programme was successfully handed over to the Government in 2018.
Bamba Chakula
Bamba Chakula
Cash transfer programs often experience delay the disbursement of life-saving cash assistance to deserving beneficiaries due to the time-consuming processes of beneficiary registration and data verification.

In 2015, WFP Kenya initiated an innovative approach to address this issue. We issued scratch cards at registration points, which can be used to top up the recipient's mobile money account.

This approach expedites the process by activating the scratch cards within 48 hours of issuance, ensuring swift access to much-needed funds.
Chakula chap chap
Chakula Chap Chap
The reality of cash transfer programmes is that registration of beneficiaries and verification of their data takes three to six weeks. Though necessary, these processes delay the disbursement of life saving cash assistance to deserving beneficiaries. In 2015, WFP began exploring ways to deliver cash in an emergency context ensuring necessary checks and timeliness. This Innovation is issuing scratch cards that top up the recipient’s mobile money account at registration points. Issued scratch cards are compiled and activated within 48 hours of issuance.
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