WFP’s COVID-19 Fast Track: Sourcing humanitarian innovation at speed and scale

Retail in a Box in Masquil Alto, Mozambique. Photo: WFP/Nuno Pedro.

A fast track through uncertainty

The new face of hunger required us to innovate at speed and scale.

More than 60 percent of South Sudan’s population are increasingly hungry during the pandemic. Photo: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua.

COVID-19 Fast Track in South Sudan

To understand where the innovation was needed most, we kickstarted the programme with the Problem Identification Workshop among WFP field staff. In South Sudan, food supply chains and logistics have been disrupted due to travel and transport restrictions, unclear and fast-changing COVID-19 physical distancing rules, locust infestations, localized conflicts and a widening funding gap.

The new face of hunger required us to innovate at speed and scale

The next step was launching an open Call for Innovations. It sought solutions with scalable business models that would embed in humanitarian operations more rapidly. The COVID-19 Fast Track strived to skip intermediary steps such as achieving proof-of-concept or prototyping that new ventures require. Teams whose projects could implement quickly in South Sudan were encouraged to apply.

Retail in a Box

Retail in a Box brings pop-up stores to communities in need while observing COVID-19 safety practices. Photo: WFP/Nalifa Mehelin, Retail in a Box in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.


WFP‘s school feeding programme in South Sudan, in collaboration with the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, provides regular and nutritious meals to thousands of school children. Photo: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua.


Rainmaker provides solar-powered water pumps and services to improve water security and food production in South Sudan. Photo: WFP/Bak Ngor (left); WFP/Mathok Kur (right).

Learn more about the innovations and technology allowing WFP to maintain operations and to step up to COVID-19:



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
WFP Innovation Accelerator

WFP Innovation Accelerator

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