Why now is the era of impact stories

By Jane Aslanidis | Innovation Insights Series

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Photo: WFP/Joerg Koch

In this global pandemic, what was already a challenging and risky endeavour for innovators, can feel even more so than ever before. The pandemic has created huge challenges on how to work, how to live, and how we connect with others. Now is the era of impact stories — the ability for an innovator to be bold, real and principled in their storytelling.

In recent mentoring sessions at the World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator, innovators have asked the question, ‘How do I tell the…


Empowering the local teams closest to a disaster is critical to emergency preparedness and response. That becomes possible when the global teams collaborate on solutions through platforms like drones.wfp.org.

By Enrica Porcari, WFP Chief Information Officer and Director of Technology

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Antonio Beleza, National Institute for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction (INGD) (left) and Domingos Reane, World Food Programme, conduct a drone assessment in the wake of tropical storm Eloise. Photo: Mercy Air / Matthias Reuter.

The man with his eyes on the camera is Antonio Beleza, Deputy Director of Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction (INGD).

His intense gaze matches the situation 72 hours after tropical storm Eloise barrelled through Mozambique’s Sofala province, bringing floods and winds of up to 130km/h to a region still recovering from cyclone Idai, one of the worst disasters ever to hit the southern hemisphere.

Drone controls in hand, Antonio uses aerial photos to check preparations for more than 5,000 people who are expected to arrive…


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Past participants at a virtual WFP innovation bootcamp.

The WFP Innovation Accelerator is kicking off the 2021 innovation bootcamp season by delivering number 33 — virtually. The bootcamp is a collaboration with MIT Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a marketplace for social impact innovation.

Through open innovation challenges, MIT Solve sources tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world, then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and a community of Members to fund and support these entrepreneurs to drive lasting, transformational impact. In September 2020, MIT Solve selected its newest class of 35 entrepreneurs innovating to take on world challenges. The Bill & Melinda…


By Amalee Nsour and Faris Atieh

There is no standard recipe for creating impactful innovation, but proximity is a crucial ingredient. In seeking to end global hunger, the World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator matches humanitarian innovations with WFP’s field operations in over 80 countries. Startups can build, iterate and pivot their innovations within a specific country context and with actual end-users; the people whose needs are met by humanitarian assistance. …


Chapter 4: The power of choice

By Enrica Porcari, WFP Chief Information Officer and Director of Technology, and Dominik Heinrich, Director of Innovation and Knowledge Management

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PLUS School Menus offers an easy-to-use menu optimization software to calculate and select the most cost-effective and diverse meals for students worldwide. The result not only meets the nutritional requirements but simultaneously ensures menu diversity with respect to local eating habits. Photo: WFP/Raul Saenz

WFP is the largest humanitarian organization in the world fighting hunger. Many of the people we serve depend on our assistance in order to survive — but saving lives is only the first step; we also need to feed hopes and dreams, changing lives in the process.

Innovation and technology are two of the keys to unlocking an essential aspect in the development and growth of the people we serve: the power of choice.


By Gulia Rakhimova

EMPACT is an innovation project of the World Food Programme (WFP) that supports young people to start tech careers, bridging their way out of hunger and poverty to the future of work and self-reliance.

After successfully training nearly 7,000 young people in digital skills in Iraq, Lebanon and Kenya, EMPACT started a pilot project in Turkey in September 2020. The first cohort launched in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, targeting refugees and low-income youth, and adapted swiftly to the new physical distancing reality under COVID-19.

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The first cohort of EMPACT students in Turkey took part in two entirely virtual coding bootcamps in October and November 2020.

Rebuilding lives in turbulent times

Launching EMPACT in Turkey has been a logical step. The country hosts the…


Question of the year: How to manage innovative field projects while working remotely?

By Gulia Rakhimova

COVID-19 has left almost no workplace untouchedincluding the World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator in Munich, Germany. We switched 50+ employees to remote-first work, kickstarted entirely virtual innovation bootcamps, and pivoted innovations to address the pandemic. Responding to rapid change might have made us more agile, but we have been running projects remotely long before the pandemic changed the landscape.

Set up within WFP, the largest humanitarian organization, the Accelerator leverages private sector expertise to tackle global hunger and create a sustainable future for all. …


Chapter 3: The latitude of scale

By Enrica Porcari, WFP Chief Information Officer and Director of Technology, and Dominik Heinrich, Director of Innovation and Knowledge Management

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Advanced drone work with the WFP-led Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) in Mozambique. Photo: WFP/Katarzyna Chojnacka

Successfully scaling up solutions to tackle real-world problems is often the difference between a good idea and a game-changing one.

WFP has always had a curious mind for the potential of innovation and technology to help fight hunger and positively impact the lives of the people it serves. Innovating to scale is in our DNA. It’s one of the reasons why WFP has remained agile, adaptive and relevant as humanitarian emergencies have grown in…


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Look back at how the WFP Innovation Accelerator faced a year of multiple changes 🚀

Dear friends and supporters,

As we started 2020, nobody could have predicted the year we would experience. The impacts of COVID-19 were felt universally, creating deep and lasting implications for global food security.

The WFP Innovation Accelerator team has stepped up through this challenging year to meet the growing needs of our global community, motivated daily by our mission to reach Zero Hunger by identifying, supporting and scaling high-impact innovations.

We have so much to be proud of. As we celebrated our fifth anniversary, the WFP Innovation Accelerator was 1 of 10 organisations recognized by FastCompany with dual awards: Best…


By Vida Gabe

When the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Chad in March 2020, a lockdown was swiftly implemented with physical distancing creating pressure on communities already struggling. World Food Programme (WFP) innovative thinking leveraged hydroponics to support refugee communities’ food security through the pandemic.

Chad is part of the Sahel region, areas which are home to refugees who have fled the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region and in the Sahelian belt. The region regularly experiences harsh weather, unpredictable rainfall and prolonged droughts. This often means no reliable source of income or food and high malnutrition rates. …

WFP Innovation Accelerator

Sourcing, supporting and scaling high-impact innovations to disrupt hunger.

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