Improve pandemic preparedness in the Digital Health Innovation Accelerator Program!

Do you have a digital innovation that can bolster pandemic preparedness and COVID-19 vaccination rollout in low- and middle-income countries? Apply for the Digital Health Innovation Accelerator Program!

By Carlos Paniagua Ferrari

The World Food Programme (WFP)’s Innovation Accelerator brings entrepreneurial and start-up methodologies into its innovation bootcamps which identify and test solutions to enhance humanitarian assistance. Photo: WFP/Emanuel Feruzi

The outbreaks of infectious diseases in recent years, including the COVID-19 pandemic, are taking a devastating toll on the lives and livelihoods of communities around the world. The situation is more critical for low- and middle-income countries, where a health crisis can hinder a country’s development and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For example, in countries where the World Food Programme (WFP) operates, 272 million people face hunger due to the aggravating effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

New technologies and approaches are needed to revert these trends and put us back on track to achieving a sustainable future for all. As countries improve their capacity to detect, diagnose, contain, and mitigate infectious diseases, they will be able to minimize the impact of pandemics and ensure future preparedness.

WFP and GIZ launch the Digital Health Innovation Accelerator Program

Since pioneering the first humanitarian airlifts 60 years ago, WFP has had an eye for innovations and technologies that can help fight global hunger and advance the SDGs.

As a result of this commitment, we have launched the Digital Health Innovation Accelerator Program, which seeks to support digitally-powered solutions that can strengthen pandemic preparedness in low- and middle-income countries. The programme is powered by WFP Innovation Accelerator and digilab, jointly led by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

New Application Deadline: 26 November 2021

We are in search of scalable digital innovations that can build pandemic preparedness and support the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination rollout. The programme is built on the premise that open-source technology promotes progress and creates further opportunities for collaboration and innovation. Therefore, we are seeking applications that use open standards, open source or open data approaches towards creating global goods in the following priority areas:

  • Vaccination scheduling: Digital solutions that streamline patient and provider registration processes, appointment schedules, vaccination administration, and immunisation sites.
  • Data management and integration: Tools and platforms addressing challenges to interoperability in health systems, such as data integration, data gaps, data security, and integration of legacy systems.
  • Other digital health tools and solutions, including but not limited to: Micro-planning, vaccine delivery and monitoring, vaccine waste management, raising awareness and counteracting misinformation, safety monitoring, and Adverse Effects for Immunization (AEFI).
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, WFP moved its innovation bootcamps online, fully maximizing the impact of digital innovation programmes. Since March 2020, WFP has hosted 12 virtual bootcamps for impact teams from around the world, addressing a multitude of SDGs.

Selected applicants will be invited to a WFP Innovation Bootcamp where they will receive technical and methodological support from the WFP Innovation Accelerator and a global network of experts in the digital health space.

After the bootcamp, teams will have the opportunity to apply to a WFP Sprint Programme, which is a six-month acceleration programme with access to up to US$250,000 in equity-free funding and hands-on support.

The call for applications is open until 26 November 2021 at 11:59 pm (CET). To apply, and for more information about the program, eligibility criteria and application process, please visit:

The WFP Innovation Accelerator sources, supports and scales high-potential solutions to end hunger worldwide. We provide WFP staff, entrepreneurs, start-ups, companies and non-governmental organizations with access to funding, mentorship, hands-on support and WFP operations.

Find out more about us: http://innovation.wfp.org. Subscribe to our e-newsletter. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn and watch our videos on YouTube.

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