The problems of hunger and malnutrition persist in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region, and over the last period, the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened poverty, further affecting the food security and nutrition crisis.
The UN Food System Summit held in September 2021 in New York, on the other hand, helped shed light on the importance of sustainable solutions and innovation for both local and global food systems development by exacerbating inequality and food insecurity among vulnerable groups, and by generating new challenges. In this context, innovation becomes critical to enable the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to deliver on its mandate to reach Zero Hunger.
This provides an extraordinary opportunity to put into action WFP’s Regional Innovation Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean (HZERO), based in Colombia, dedicated to fighting hunger and malnutrition, while supporting LAC in solution acceleration. The Hub provides a unique platform specifically aimed at strengthening food innovation ecosystems at the regional, national, and local levels, promoting an inclusive and people-centered approach leveraging the richness and diversity of people’s identities, territories, foods, products, and ancestral cultures.
The Hub will empower the most vulnerable people: youth, women, and civil society groups, through innovation and transformative action implemented by communities themselves, with support of a powerful multi-stakeholder approach with allies and partners, including governmental institutions, academia, civil society, grassroots organizations, the UN, international cooperation, together with existing innovation start-up labs and ecosystems, as well as the private sector.
- The first phase of creation and execution of the activities of the Hub has been possible thanks to an investment from the WFP Country Office in Colombia and the WFP Innovation Accelerator in Munich, which carried out the first WFP Innovation Bootcamp in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- The Government of Colombia has also committed initial resources for establishing the Hub and secures the strong articulation with Innovation for Nutrition (I4N), a groundbreaking and visionary initiative of the First Lady and the Government of Colombia, established in 2021, to accelerate the fight against malnutrition in Colombia and the LAC region.
- We invite you to join us on this innovation journey by ensuring that WFP Regional Innovation Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean (HZERO) is sustained for an initial three-year period (2022-2024).
- Mapping and promotion of disruptive solutions;
- Delivery of tailor-made innovation programmes and services;
- Bridging financial and technical resources for the ecosystem;
- Fostering connection, co-creation, and knowledge exchange.
For more information about the hub, please contact us at I4NColombia@wfp.org
Ancestral Markets (Colombia)
This project consists of a platform to identify and support initiatives that come "from the heart of the community" and have an important and sustainable development potential linked to food security, nutrition, and markets. It aims at supporting creative and innovative initiatives that leverage the community's ancestral knowledge, that empower women and value elders’ wisdom, and that will help translate the rich community's cultural heritage, values, and products into sustainable socio-economic development opportunities.
LivingWaters Systems LLC (United States)
This solution comes in the form of a low cost, portable, rainwater harvesting system for refugee camps and off grid settlements. Rainwater is the cleanest source of naturally occurring water, and by allowing families to collect it from their own roof, they can maintain a clean source of water right at their doorstep. Although rainwater is naturally clean, the project can service ancillary products and recommend a three-step filtration process to remove any detritus that may get washed off of the roof.
School Feeding Management App (Guatemala)
This project seeks to connect home grown farmers to schools to enhance school meals and nutrition by building an entire demand and supply network using technology and a reliable network and data management platform that assures transparency, traceability, and data permanency, while positioning WFP as a strategic player for school feeding.
A Do Tank of Private Sector solutions for the creation of Employment with Dignity in Latin American BOP communities. Its mission is the inclusion of Latin America’s vulnerable populations into the formal economy through AI micro work. By investing in training and recruiting these people to perform data annotation tasks will help them generate income and develop the digital skills they need to springboard them up the Employment Integration Ladder.
Cocina con Causa (Perú)
Deliver valuable and user-friendly information on good nutrition to families in Peru. Following 3 years using different channels to promote good nutrition and healthy eating habits, they seek to create a new product that continues to improve the nutrition of households in Peru, not least in a challenging post pandemic context. The project is a technological bridge between accurate information and families with nutrition needs.
Groasis (Colombia, Chad, and Algeria)
Offers a solution using Growboxes and Waterboxes to grow trees and vegetables using less than 90% of water if compared with drip irrigation while achieving a survival rate of the planted materials of at least 90%. A technology that uses simple boxes to grow a productive tree and surrounding plants considerably reducing water usage and hence making farming possible in dry areas.
Producers Direct (Perú)
A tool powered by blockchain technology to create dynamic digital cooperatives specifically for the most marginalised groups -female smallholders and youth - who have limited profiles in global food value chains increasing increase their financial independence, food security, and incomes scaling-up their on-farm diversification products and facilitating market access, payments, and digital records utilising blockchain.