From idea to impact: WFP CODA’s humanitarian innovation journey

Digital innovations like CODA (Conditional On-Demand Assistance) enable WFP, governments and partners to reach more food-insecure communities faster and more efficiently than before. Photo: WFP/Kirstyn Allen.

1. Ideation

Paper medical records add to inefficiencies and increase mortality — particularly in low resource and remote health clinics. Photo: WFP/Federico Naccarato.

Innovators can achieve more significant social impact by putting people at the centre of the design process

To speed up the development of a safe MVP, the team researched WFP’s existing corporate systems that already complied with safety protocols. As a result, they built an MVP on the backbone of SCOPE — WFP’s existing beneficiary identity management system — and CODA (Conditional On-Demand Assistance) was developed.

Using CODA, frontline workers record malnutrition treatment progress, track an individual’s nutrition and health status, identify when a patient has recovered, and indicate whether the treatment has been successful. Photo: WFP/Federico Naccarato.

2. Pilot

  • The application reduced the cost of malnutrition monitoring per patient by 74 percent, freeing up time and resources to provide humanitarian assistance to about 17 percent more patients; making it possible to help more people for the same amount of money.
  • The digital database allowed monitoring of the effectiveness of nutrition interventions at an individual level, and disbursement of humanitarian assistance on a conditional and on-demand basis.
  • The algorithm instantly detected double registrations of a patient; something that would have previously gone unnoticed in manual entry and created efficiency to get humanitarian assistance to the right people at the right time.
Innovators can achieve more significant social impact by putting people at the centre of the design process and tailoring the solution to their needs and local context every step of the way. Photo: WFP/Carlos Muñoz.

3. Growth

Innovation is like a muscle; it can grow stronger through exercise

From one field location to another, the field staff highlighted what worked and what could be improved depending on their specific context. The CODA team started seeing different angles of the problem with recurring trends and discovered an opportunity that other similar tools missed: the need for offline functionality.

The very first CODA patient user in South Sudan, 2018. Photo: WFP/Federico Naccarato.

4. Scale

CODA training for frontline workers in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: WFP/Kirstyn Allen.
A healthcare specialist registers the child’s nutrition and health status using CODA in Tajikistan. Photo: WFP/ Federico Naccarato.

The WFP Innovation Accelerator has supported more than 90 projects in 46 countries, with 14 innovations scaling up to achieve significant impact. Read more about scaling innovations at WFP:

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WFP Innovation Accelerator

WFP Innovation Accelerator

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