Five winners of 2019 WFP Innovation Awards from Africa revealed 

The five winners of the 2019 World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Awards were revealed recently at WFP’s annual Global Management Meeting in London, UK.

From microloans for mothers to pop-up retail shops in emergencies, the winning solutions exemplify how WFP is embracing innovation and technology to achieve Zero Hunger.

(TOP: Country, Region and Division Directors receive the 2019 WFP Innovation Awards from Executive Director David Beasley at WFP’s Global Management Meeting in London).

The Innovation Awards recognize and celebrate outstanding innovative achievements of WFP country offices and divisions. Organized by the Innovation Accelerator, the awards are reviewed by an advisory group of WFP leaders from offices around the globe.

“WFP is full of smart people with game-changing ideas,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “The winners of this year’s Innovation Awards show how WFP is leading the pack in developing new ways to save lives, change lives and get us to Zero Hunger.”

The Innovation Accelerator provides funding, recognition and support to WFP employees, start-ups, and entrepreneurs revolutionizing how hunger is addressed. Applications are accepted at any time and can be submitted through the Innovation Accelerator website.

Below are the five winning projects:

  • She Can: Microloans for mothers. (From Egypt Country Office, Innovation and Knowledge Management Division)

A lack of access to loans and other financial services can trap families in a vicious cycle of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition. “She Can” empowers the mothers of children enrolled in school meals programmes by providing them with financial training and microloans to kickstart and develop their own businesses. The project has conducted a successful pilot in Egypt in collaboration with the government, training more than 53,000 mothers and providing microloans to 13,000, enabling them to increase their incomes by 30–50 percent with a repayment rate close to 100 percent. She Can is working to expand operations to other countries and is seeking additional capital through crowdsourcing and partnering with private and institutional investors.

  • Retail-in-a-Box: Pop-up shops for communities in need

Markets and crucial retail infrastructure are often destroyed by disasters or conflict, or refugees flee to areas where no market infrastructure is accessible.

Retail in a Box is a retail turnkey solution that facilitates access to essential goods in emergencies while accelerating the recovery and development of local markets. The customizable package provides shop infrastructure and layouts, check-out systems, retail operational guidance, and capacity building support. The objective is to build a reliable market serving the local community, run by the local community. Retail-in-a-Box is planning to run pilots in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh to validate its model and prepare for scale.

  • Drones to the rescue in Mozambique (Mozambique Country Office, Johannesburg Regional Bureau, Technology Division)

In 2019, two deadly cyclones hit Mozambique, killing hundreds of people and rendering millions more homeless.

WFP supported the broader humanitarian response by deploying drones in an emergency for the first time, helping rescuers respond faster and more efficiently. Over 70,000 images were used to create dozens of detailed maps for affected villages and towns, helping over 20 humanitarian organizations to deliver aid where it was needed most.

  • School Connect: Digitizing school feeding data in Burundi. Project by the Burundi Country Office, School Feeding and Technology Divisions

In Burundi, one third of the time, children enrolled in schools with feeding programmes go hungry – mostly due to empty food stocks, driven by old, manually-inputted data. School Connect digitises data entry for stock inventory, student attendance, and meal consumption for school feeding programmes to improve supply chain planning and nutritional intake. The web-based solution is being tested in 20 schools in Burundi and will scale up to 820 schools in 2020.

  • HungerMapLIVE (Research, Assessment and Monitoring Division).

HungerMapLIVE is WFP’s new Global Hunger Monitoring System, which provides near real-time estimates of the food security situation in over 90 countries. Jointly developed by WFP and Alibaba Cloud, HungerMapLIVE pulls together key metrics – such as food security information, weather, population size, conflict, hazards, nutrition information and macro-economic data – to predict and monitor the food security situation in near real-time. The resulting analysis is displayed on an interactive map that helps WFP staff, key decision makers and the broader humanitarian community to make more informed and timely decisions on food security. These data-driven insights will help shorten emergency response times, optimize operations and reduce costs.


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