Partnerships for innovation:

Continuing to build a network of diverse partners

© WFP/Lukas Atzert

The impact we’ve been able to achieve this year, and the growth we’ve experienced in the last six years, was only possible because our donors and supporters believed in us.

"Ending global hunger requires new partnerships and innovative approaches. USAID applauds the WFP Innovation Accelerator’s work to crowd in private sources of financing that will help to sustainably scale critical solutions to food insecurity. USAID is proud of its partnership with the WFP Innovation Accelerator and looks forward to supporting further creative ideas in the march towards Zero Hunger."
Margaret Schmitz, Division Chief (Acting), Private Sector Engagement, Diaspora and Innovation at USAID - Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance State Minister for European and International Affairs, Bavarian State Chancellery

2021 was a year of deepening partnerships. In February, the Accelerator and Germany (the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Federal Foreign Office, and the Bavarian State Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry) celebrated the renewal of our multi-year partnership. USAID provided its third year of funding support to our work, investing in knowledge sharing and our exploration of innovative finance. Our partnerships continued to go from strength to strength with Luxembourg and the Netherlands. We are also thankful for new partners like the Czech Republic and Innovation Norway coming on board for the first time.

© WFP/Alex Lozan
Zambia. February 2022. WFP Innovation Accelerator Scale-up team visit to the WFP PHL Venture in Zambia.
“A Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in Munich! The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize for its tireless and unique commitment to the fight against hunger. In the presence of WFP Director David Beasley and Icelandic Foreign Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, I was honoured to welcome the participants to the WFP flagship event, held on the occasion of the Munich Security Conference. The fight against hunger needs our full commitment! What makes me happy: The “creative laboratory” of WFP is based in Bavaria. The big goal: a world without hunger. Innovative solutions for this come from Bavaria.”
Melanie Huml, State Minister for European and International Affairs, Bavarian State Chancellery
© Bayerische Staatskanzlei
Munich. March 2022. Melanie Huml’s visit to the WFP Innovation Accelerator office.

New private sector partnerships were developed with Bosch Siemens Household Appliances, John Deere Foundation, and we received continued support from BASF Stiftung. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation diversified its support, adding scale-up enablement to its portfolio. Technical and knowledge sharing partnerships continued with the German Space Agency (DLR) and we began working with the European Space Agency (ESA).


Partner investment in our innovation projects across the globe reached USD 70 million, while direct support to the Innovation Accelerator from key private and public sector partners was USD 16.5 million. USD 4 million in funding to the Innovation Accelerator came from new donors in 2021, representing 24 percent of the overall funding to the Innovation Accelerator. This brings all-time global innovation support to USD 180 million and support to the Innovation Accelerator to USD 63 million since its establishment in 2015.

The WFP Innovation Accelerator ran 14 SDG Acceleration programmes supporting 60 ventures working across the SDGs. We had the pleasure of welcoming the Austrian Development Agency and GIZ (the German Agency for International Cooperation) to our existing partner group: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge, and UNFPA.

"UNFPA ESARO worked with the WFP Innovation Accelerator in 2021 on the UNFPA FGM HackLab project that sought to identify innovation solutions contributing to ending FGM and other harmful practices against women and girls. The WFP Innovation Accelerator has been a key partner in delivering this work; demonstrating exceptional professionalism and understanding in developing innovation solutions. The use of technology and young trainers/coaches/facilitators was key to achieving our objectives."
Sydney Hushie, Innovation Specialist at UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office

Throughout 2021, the Innovation Accelerator continued to work on global fora. WFP continued to lead the UN Innovation Network (UNIN), which expanded to 3,000 colleagues from 70+ UN Entities in over 140 countries joining the Network. In January, the World Economic Forum (WEF) launched the Food Innovation Hubs in partnership with WFP, private companies and governments, in support of smallholder farmers and an effort to reach the ten percent of the world's population who face food insecurity. The Innovation Accelerator represented WFP in the Food Systems Summit Innovation Lever and fostered WFP's positioning at World Humanitarian Forum, EXPO 2020, YPO (Young Presidents Organisation), COP26, and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

In November 2021, we received a visit to our office from Didier Drogba, former footballer and the World Health Organization (WHO) Ambassador for Sports and Health, which had more than 91,000 impressions through our Twitter and LinkedIn posts.

Munich. November 2021. Didier Drogba’s visit to the WFP Innovation Accelerator office.
In the photo: Didier Drogba, Joanna Purcell, Hila Cohen and Alex Lozan. © WFP/Shani Bannister

We are humbled to have a strong and growing community who have helped us reach this point in our journey: Our Innovation Advisory Group, a key group of WFP leadership members, reviewed our innovations to ensure that our solutions meet the high standards of WFP. Our WFP Innovation Advisory Council evolved into a well structured global group of our most senior and highest level supporters and voices from government, ambassadors, C-level board members, professors, venture capitalists, business consultants and philanthropists.

Quotes from our partners

"One of our mentoring sessions was truly eye-opening in the approach that we are taking for scaling the [Mbala Pinda] project. Looking at our users beyond the scope of our project is crucial in designing a model that empowers women and enables their financial autonomy."
Rosaline BOCKARIE,
Head of Sub-office in Nkayi, WFP Republic of Congo
"Investment in innovation and technology has transformed our work across WFP operations, helping us solve real world problems in difficult situations, ultimately reaching more people in need. From cash-based transfers to blockchain, to data-empowered decision making, innovation is essential for upping the value of technology in humanitarianism. The Innovation Accelerator and WFP Technology Division are partners in enabling our organization to respond faster and better to the world’s biggest challenges."
Jay Mahanand,
Chief Information Officer and Director of the Technology Division, World Food Programme
"The implementation of the SMP PLUS tool in the Dominican Republic is important because the software has given us access to more specific data, such as statistical and nutritional requirements. In addition, the tool has allowed time savings, which are very important in the processes we carry out here in the department. The tool allows us to evaluate in a more transparent and detailed way the circumstances and processes that occur within the nutritional evaluation that will lead us to make decisions that may positively or negatively impact the beneficiaries. It is a tool that has helped us streamline many processes, to have all the processes integrated in a single platform."
Dr. Zara De Los Santos,
Nutrition Analyst, National Student Wellbeing Institute (INABIE)
"The WFP Innovation Accelerator does unique things in the innovation field. There are good reasons for this. Innovations are successful only if they turn into instruments that are useful in the field. So it is important to bring solutions from lab to field, to test and advance them to ideally scale-up and mainstream them. The idea is to use innovation to spend our money more effectively and therefore help more people."
Dr. Tobias Lindner,
Minister of State at the German Federal Foreign Office