The Great Enablers: Powering innovation, technology and partnerships to enable WFP’s mission

WFP Innovation Accelerator
3 min readNov 9, 2023

When people’s lives are hit by conflict, disaster, or famine, every second and every mile can be the difference between life and death. For decades, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has used innovation and technology to shorten the difficult last mile it travels to reach people in need. What’s new are the speed, scale, and partnerships with which we are bridging that gap to bring people food security, stability, and opportunities for sustainable solutions to food insecurity.

WFP is facing a historic funding shortfall that threatens its ability to provide food assistance to those in need. A WFP study estimates that every one percent cut in food assistance risks pushing over 400,000 people toward starvation. And in the next 12 months, an additional 24 million people could slip into emergency hunger — a 50 percent increase from the current level.

WFP Executive Director, Cindy McCain, sitting in a plane, looking out of the window wearing headphones
WFP Executive Director, Cindy McCain
Photo: WFP/Alessandro Abbonizio

This is why Executive Director, Cindy McCain, underscores the importance of innovation, technology, and new partnerships to tackle the world’s hunger crisis through the integration of cutting-edge digital solutions. McCain during the UN Security Council Briefing on Public-Private Partnerships in September 2023:

“As we confront a new reality of sustained humanitarian needs and shrinking budgets, it’s time to rethink how we engage and find new role models for cross-sectoral partnerships. We need business leaders to help develop smart innovations and solutions required to build resilience and tackle the root causes of hunger and poverty.”

With the relaunch of the Great Enablers website, WFP is ushering in the next stage of collaboration, innovation, and technology to address the pressing issue of global hunger. This initiative is a testament to the power of partnerships and the potential for transformative change, and it comes at a crucial time when the world faces unprecedented challenges that call for new ways of thinking and doing things in collaboration with a diverse group of partners.

At WFP, scaling up solutions is more than just extending our ability to intervene during crisis; implemented the right way, innovation at scale has the potential to help solve some of the greatest humanitarian challenges of our time — on the road to zero hunger.

From accelerating disaster response with AI to connecting those at risk of hunger to the global digital economy, and scaling cash support for greater flexibility. The Great Enablers is more than just a showcase of WFP’s work, it’s a testament to both the power of and potential for innovation, technology, and partnerships to tackle the world’s toughest challenges.

WFP invites all stakeholders, from governments and corporations to individuals, to explore the platform and join the mission. You can get in touch directly with the teams leading these efforts, subscribe to our mailing list, donate, or share meals. Together, we can bridge the critical funding gap, save lives, prevent millions from going hungry, and build resilience, preparedness, and sustainable solutions to food insecurity. The price of inaction carries catastrophic consequences, compelling all of us to unite and work toward a hunger-free world. Hunger does not wait, and neither should we.

Check out the relaunched website.

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.

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WFP Innovation Accelerator

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