The World Food Programme (WFP) has embraced innovation and thought leadership since its first airlift in 1962. Today we build partnerships that leverage the best technology and know-how from all sectors, to help us in our work towards zero hunger. Hydroponic agriculture is being implemented in nine countries, enabling communities and refugees to grow food and livestock fodder in extreme environments — with no soil, very little water and locally sourced materials. Airtight grain storage equipment is used to reduce post-harvest food losses; vitamin fortification mills help improve nutrition in harvested grains; and mobile apps enhance smallholder farmers’ ability to compare pricing and get food to markets efficiently. WFP is also providing digital training to young refugees and other youth at risk, bridging their way out of hunger and poverty towards a future with employment.
High-tech solutions help WFP work more efficiently, addressing the needs of millions. Blockchain is used to manage disbursements of cash-based assistance to people on the move. Iris scanning and fingerprint biometrics are used to verify the identity of people entitled to receive WFP assistance. Drones are deployed to carry out aerial remote sensing to assess post-disaster damage. Our amphibious all-terrain vehicles are being outfitted with self-driving robotic engineering, so that WFP can deliver assistance to even the most dangerous last mile. Artificial intelligence powers WFP’s Hunger Map Live with live global data in near real-time, to track global food security. This allows WFP to predict food crises and mobilize resources quickly.
Today, WFP brings Silicon Valley-style start-up approaches to stimulate innovative thinking via its WFP Innovation Accelerator in Munich, Germany. With the success of WFP’s first fundraising app, ShareTheMeal, the Innovation Accelerator was established to proactively source, support and scale high-potential solutions to disrupt global hunger and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. It leverages the expertise and strategies of private sector tech leaders and start-up entrepreneurs to improve humanitarian intervention projects, by connecting them with WFP’s 20,000 people worldwide and global field operations in over 80 countries.
The Innovation Accelerator also shares its learnings with different actors in the UN innovation ecosystem, as co-lead of the UN Innovation Network (alongside UNICEF) and with various NGOs and private sector innovation entities through its Innovation Services programme.
The Innovation Accelerator has been recognized with innovation industry awards, such as FastCompany’s 2020 Best Workplaces for Innovators, Innovation Team of the Year 2020, and the Most Innovative Companies of 2021. Find out more about innovation at WFP: visit our website, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, watch our YouTube videos, or subscribe to our e-newsletter for updates.