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Who we are

WFP/Alex Lozan

About us

The WFP Innovation Accelerator sources, supports and scales bold new solutions to achieve Zero Hunger.

Based in Munich, Germany, the Innovation Accelerator provides WFP operations, entrepreneurs and start-ups with funding, hands-on support and access to WFP’s global operations. WFP is leveraging unprecedented advances in digital innovation — such as mobile technology, artificial intelligence, blockchain and new business models — to transform the way it serves vulnerable communities across the world, with the Innovation Accelerator supporting every step of the way.

80+
Sprint Projects
46
Countries
6,358
Applications Received
32
Bootcamps
14
Scale-up Projects
US
$118.7
Co-Funding Raised
(in millions)
125
Countries
321
Teams
Group 3

3.7 million people
reached in 2020

PRISM
388,392 people receiving emergency aid as a result of advanced flood mapping
EMPACT
18,097 benefiting from digital skills training
DALILI
52,700 people people accessing up- to-date food prices through the Dalili mobile app
CODA SERVICES
32,118 people registered into a malnutrition programme through the CODA mobile app
BUILDING BLOCKS
910,000 people received blockchain enabled cash- based transfers
FARM TO MARKET ALLIANCE
782,500 people reached through the public-private Farm to Market Alliance
POST-HARVEST LOSS REDUCTION
675,000 people reached through post-harvest loss reduction training
SHARETHEMEAL
557,096 people receiving meals through the ShareTheMeal mobile app
H2GROW
26,500 people growing food with hydroponics through H2Grow
PLUS SCHOOL MEALS
705 students fed nutritious meals under the PLUS programme
CLOUD TO STREET
16,000 people receiving cash vouchers in flood- affected areas as a result of C2S mapping

Where we work

  • WFP Innovation Accelerator
  • Innovation Hubs
Agri-Wallet
Kenya
BioAnalyt
Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Malaysia
Building Blocks
Bangladesh, Jordan, Lebanon
Child Growth Monitor
India
Circular Food Assistance
Bangladesh
Cloud to Street
Congo, Ghana, India, Pakistan, United States of America
Cockpit
South Sudan
Dalili
Kenya, Lebanon
Decapolis
Jordan
DEFAST e-Shop
Rwanda
Electro Methanogenic Reactors
Somalia
EMPACT
Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Turkey
Farm to Market Alliance
Kenya, Rwanda
Fenik
Malawi
Annapurti GrainATM
India
GrainMate
Ghana
Groasis
Algeria, Chad, Colombia
H2Grow
Algeria, Chad, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Palestine, Peru, Namibia, Zambia
Hello Tractor
Kenya
Humanitarian Topographic Atlas
Global
Hunger Map LIVE
Global
Log.ie
Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, South Sudan
MEZA
Congo
Ninayo
Tanzania
NutriIndia
India
Optimus
WFP HQ (Italy)
Pesitho ECOCA
Burundi
PLUS School Meals
Bhutan, Dominican Republic, Mozambique, Sri Lanka
Post-Harvest Loss Reduction
Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan
PRISM
Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka
Producers Direct
Peru
Retail in a Box
Bangladesh, Mozambique
Roambee
Ethiopia
Sanku
Tanzania
Saving Grains
Ethiopia
CODA Services
Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, South Sudan, Tajikistan and Uganda
SHAPES
Mozambique
ShareTheMeal
Global
SheCan
WFP HQ (Italy/Germany)
The Last Mile Ecosystem
Tunisia
Thrive Agric
Nigeria

Our path to scale

Innovation has been part of the WFP DNA since it organized the first humanitarian airlifts in 1962. These days, WFP’s use of innovation to deliver its mandate ranges from the application of artificial intelligence in satellite imagery to predict emerging crises and plan humanitarian responses, to setting up digital cash-based transfers that help families buy foods and support the local economy.

When the Innovation Accelerator was established in 2015, scaling innovations was the ultimate goal: to achieve impact for the most vulnerable populations worldwide. To get there, the Accelerator also had to undertake its own path to scale. From an initial team of five people hosting a bootcamp in a single room, the Accelerator quickly grew to encompass a team of over 50 people hosting at least four regular bootcamps annually.

Hover over the photo below to see the evolution of our signature Pitch Events from 2015 to 2020!
2015
2020

Here are some of the ways the Innovation Accelerator has grown and further developed the foundation for its work over the past five years:

  • Since 2018, the WFP Innovation Accelerator’s portfolio has included innovation services for other United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), expanding our focus from the SDG 2 of Zero Hunger to tackling a multitude of interconnected SDGs.
  • This year, the WFP Innovation Accelerator scaled up even further with the expansion of our Innovation Community, which launched our first Regional Innovation Hub for East Africa hosted in WFP’s Regional Bureau in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • We also established the WFP Innovation Champions Community, where WFP staff members from around the world come together to be agents of change, driving innovation within WFP and accelerating solutions for hunger.
  • Finally, we established a dedicated Knowledge Management (KM) pillar to our work, ensuring that we are also sharing the hard-earned lessons along the way.
Scale-up
Enablement
Programme
Enabling the rapid scale-up of high-impact innovations by providing tailored strategy, fundraising, communications, knowledge management and mentorship support, helping projects to multiply their impact within and beyond WFP.
Sprint
Programme
A six-month acceleration programme that provides funding, hands-on support and access to WFP operations to help projects develop prototypes and reach proof-of-concept.
Innovation
Bootcamps
Five-day, high-intensity workshops with expert mentors and facilitators to help teams dive deep into challenges, ideate solutions and refine project plans.
Innovation
Sourcing
Sourcing bold ideas from the brightest minds through our online application site, active sourcing and Innovation Challenges.
Frontier
Innovations
Exploring game-changing innovations and new technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, edge computing and robotics to help humanitarians deliver on their mandate more effectively.
WORLDFOODPROGRAMMEWORLDFOODPROGRAMME

The year unlike any other

COVID-19 has shattered lives and livelihoods across the planet, making it harder to reach the Zero Hunger target by 2030. In low- and middle-income countries where WFP operates, 272 million people face acute hunger. That is a staggering 82 percent increase from the pre-COVID period. Sustained lockdowns are disrupting agricultural activities, food supply chains, jobs, and remittances. All of this is a recipe for disaster for countries whose food security is already undermined by conflict, displacement and climate change — primary drivers of hunger. The pandemic’s fallout is expected to continue through 2021, aggravating vulnerabilities in food systems worldwide and pushing more people to rely on food assistance.
Now, more than ever, innovation is imperative.

How innovation becomes more important than ever in this kind of crisis

The new face of hunger required us to innovate at speed and scale. Early in the pandemic, the Accelerator launched the COVID-19 Fast Track to accelerate the sourcing and roll-out of existing solutions to serve communities affected by COVID-19.
Learn more

First Fully-Virtual Innovation Events

In response to COVID-19, we switched our in-person Innovation Bootcamps into a virtual, online experience — in less than a week. Eight Innovation Bootcamps out of nine hosted in 2020 were entirely virtual.
Learn more

Pivoting - Remaining Flexible

Not only did our Accelerator programme pivot to the virtual format, but many innovation projects also embraced digital transformation and tackled COVID-19 directly.
Learn more

Our ambitious
future

Our ambitious
future

The first five years of the WFP Innovation Accelerator were focused mainly on establishing our core programmes and building solid relationships with our partners. The next five years will cast an eye towards adopting lessons learned to improve the way we work and share our knowledge so that we can further expand our reach. By the end of 2025, we aim to positively impact the lives of 15 million people. To do this, we intend to continue our overarching goals for the next five years , including:

  • Saving lives, changing lives through innovative products, services and projects supported by the WFP Innovation Accelerator.
  • Increasing our geographical reach by expanding products, services and projects supported by the Accelerator to help operations in all WFP Country Offices and Regional Bureaus.
  • Strengthening national capacities by mainstreaming innovative products and services supported by the Accelerator into the national systems and processes of at least 50 national governments and/or institutions.
  • Broadening partnerships and cross-sectoral collaboration by establishing at least 50 bilateral and multi-stakeholder partnership agreements with key actors in the private sector, academia and research institutions, media, WFP and the larger humanitarian and development community.
  • Achieving a Return on Investment (ROI) by raising US$ 200 million from direct donations, revenues from Accelerator operations, and external funds raised through supported projects.

We intend to empower local innovation systems in areas where the need is greatest and where there is emerging innovation capacity. We will continue our close collaboration with other WFP divisions and WFP Country Offices, aiming to establish three more innovation hubs on a regional level in order to sustainably foster local innovation ecosystems.

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