3 ways blockchain innovation is enhancing humanitarian response

WFP actively seeks new ways of delivering humanitarian assistance by exploring cutting-edge technologies and innovations and has done so since its earliest days. Photo: WFP/Jörg Koch.

Blockchain technology

Essentially, blockchain is a type of database that records information in chronological order by adding a new block of data to an ever-growing chain of data blocks. These blocks are all linked together, they reference each other, and the records are both traceable and irreversible at all times.

1. Smallholder farmers use blockchain for quality control

Despite producing much of the world’s food, smallholder farmers tend to be food insecure themselves — growing and earning just enough income to make it to the next harvest. Decapolis is a blockchain-powered solution that tracks the quality of the food produce as it passes through the entire supply chain. From the farm to the marketplace, this quality control benefits both the smallholder farmer and the end consumers at markets.

Since the pilot’s launch in February 2020, 100 smallholder farmers have been onboarded, trained and are now using the Decapolis platform in Jordan. Photo: WFP/Mohamad Batah.

2. Blockchain promotes financial inclusion for the unbanked

Participants in WFP’s Digital Microwork pilot project that connects young people to an online microwork platform, enabling them to earn income from machine learning jobs. Photo: WFP/Brian Otieno.

3. Ramping up co-innovation and knowledge sharing with blockchain

The humanitarian and development sector is increasingly applying blockchain solutions in field projects. Sharing knowledge and building on each other’s experience goes a long way to creating new blockchain applications that can advance work towards the Sustainable Development Goals. This is what The Atrium aims to do.

Presentation of the Atrium at the Interagency Innovation Bootcamp co-hosted by the UN Innovation Network and WFP Innovation Accelerator in 2019 in Munich, Germany. Photo: WFP/Sebastian Widmann.

Emerging frontiers of humanitarian action

The WFP Innovation Accelerator provides startups and innovators with US $100,000 in funding and mentorship to help them advance blockchain solutions tackling global hunger and other SDGs. In 2022, we identified startups with solid and ready-for-testing and deployment projects through a call for applications that specifically sought blockchain solutions. Stay tuned and follow our channels below to receive news about these new blockchain pilots at WFP.

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WFP Innovation Accelerator

WFP Innovation Accelerator

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