Adopting innovative approaches to tackle Lebanon’s unprecedented challenges

Photo: WFP/Lebanon Country Office
The destruction at Beirut’s port following a huge chemical explosion that devastated large parts of the Lebanese capital. In the background the destroyed grain silos are visible. The explosion in Beirut ruined about 1 month’s worth of grain for Lebanon. Photo: WFP/Malak Jaafar

Leveraging the expertise of the WFP Innovation Accelerator

In the wake of the blast at the Beirut port, WFP Lebanon Country Office realized there was a clear need for using a different approach in its humanitarian response to businesses affected by the explosion and the worsening of food security in the country. Businesses in the agri-food sector affected by the explosion were struggling to stay operational, urgently needing support for rehabilitation, restocking, paying salaries and rent. To keep businesses from closing and thereby mitigating job loss and maintaining services to the community, WFP launched a new initiative — the Food Systems Grant Facility (FSGF).

In 2015, after 40 years of closure, Dalida managed to reopen the family-owned grocery store in Gemmayze. However, five years after opening, the Beirut Port Explosion destroyed her family’s shop. “We found everything outside. All of the goods were scattered on the ground” she explained. Despite having been injured in the blast herself, Dalida began renovating the shop the next day. In 2021, she received WFP support enabling her to refurbish the shop and stock up again on various food products. The photo above shows Dalida in her shop in Gemmayzeh, Beirut. Photo: WFP

Identifying long-term solutions through the Food Systems Grant Facility

After providing grants to 222 businesses that were affected by the Beirut port explosion, the WFP Innovation Accelerator and the WFP Lebanon Country Office are developing the FSGF further to address some of the root causes that are affecting Lebanon’s food systems and making the country dependent on food imports (about 85 percent of the country’s food supply is imported). The WFP Innovation Accelerator is supporting the WFP Lebanon Country Office in the roll out of the Food Systems Challenge — a grant making mechanism that identifies promising, innovative SMEs, onboards them and provides them with the financial and business development support they need to succeed. For the next 18 months, WFP and its local partner Berytech, will select 30 innovative businesses to receive a package support worth up to US$ 100,000 each (covering business development services, technical assistance, in-kind support and cash grants).

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WFP Innovation Accelerator

WFP Innovation Accelerator

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