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Innovation and technology allow the World Food Programme (WFP) to speed up its emergency response, scale up assistance and bring empowerment and choice to people in need. They save us both money and time, meaning we can reach more people, more quickly and effectively.

Tools like HungerMap LIVE mean we can monitor the food security of vulnerable, hard-to-reach communities in real time, even from thousands of miles away. At the same time, digital-finance tools, including blockchain technology, allow people to access cash assistance more securely.

Damage-assessment times can be cut from weeks to minutes, by combining drones for aerial remote sensing with artificial intelligence, while faster and more accurate forecasting for humanitarian needs ensure faster, more targeted assistance.

Innovation means communities are empowered with the capacity to grow food anywhere, with adaptable and affordable hydroponic initiatives that use 75 percent less space and up to 90 percent less water.

There are many more ways that technology helps in WFP’s fight against hunger. This includes improving emergency response by using chatbots for two-way communication with crisis-affected people, and equipping communities with connectivity.

Collaboration increases global impact 

WFP’s Innovation Accelerator runs a multitude of programmes, including innovation challenges, bootcamps and sprint programmes. These connect entrepreneurs, start-ups, companies and non-governmental organizations with access to funding, mentorship, hands-on support and the skills of WFP staff worldwide.

The Accelerator has championed over 150 innovative ideas, helping WFP reach 37 million people across 88 countries in 2022. It has secured more than US$200 million in co-funding for our initiatives, including from private and public investors, and from the Innovation Accelerator itself.

As co-lead of the UN Innovation Network, the Accelerator shares its insights and knowledge with UN counterparts, as well as with numerous NGOs and private-sector innovation entities, through its SDG Acceleration Programme.

The Accelerator and WFP’s Technology Division roll out innovative solutions worldwide, with support from WFP country offices and business units – from critical connectivity networks to real-time data analysis, artificial intelligence systems and more.

The WFP-led Emergency Telecommunications Cluster connected more than 9,000 humanitarians across 313 organizations in 2022, enabling them to swiftly work together across complex emergencies like in Ukraine. 

To harness technology, innovation and data to its fullest potential, WFP fosters strategic partnerships with companies and organizations – who in turn supply pro bono access to software, products and professional skills. 

Awards and recognition 

WFP is a four-time winner of the Anthem Awards, which recognize social impact work worldwide. The WFP Innovation Accelerator was named in Fast Company’s lists of Best Workplaces for Innovators and Most Innovative Companies (Not-For-Profit) 2021.

The Great Enablers