Twin Transition: Ten Solutions Paving the Way for a Digital and Sustainable World

WFP Innovation Accelerator
7 min readDec 1, 2023

Discover ten pioneering innovators harnessing technology to forge robust, adaptable and resilient economies and contribute to a sustainable world. Join us at DGIx Pitch Event on 31 January 2024 to watch the selected innovators showcase their solutions.

By: Sanjna Sudan, Anaswara Kovithal and Yanina Semenchenko

Illustration: Sanjna Sudan/ WFP Innovation Accelerator

A digital and technologically advanced future is inevitable. But with the onslaught of climate change, can this transition be sustainable? Enter the Digital & Green Innovation Accelerator (DGIx). Launched this year, it champions the belief that digital transformation can pave the way for a sustainable future, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

DGIx is a programme spearheaded by the WFP Innovation Accelerator and the Smart Development Fund (#SDF), in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the European Union (EU). The programme embraces a “twin transition” approach, which acknowledges the large and untapped role that technology and data can play in driving sustainability. By viewing technology and sustainability as allies, the hosts and partners of DGIx believe innovation can foster stronger and more adaptive economies.

The Digital & Green Innovation Accelerator call for innovations was launched in September 2023 and invited technology-powered solutions addressing pressing environmental challenges to apply for the programme. Ten teams from a pool of 440+ applications received from 51 countries emerged as the selected participants through a competitive selection process. The teams will join the DGIx Bootcamp from 4 to 7 December 2023, happening during COP28, where they will work to refine their innovations and business plans. Following the Bootcamp, these teams will also showcase their innovative solutions at a Pitch Event in Kigali, Rwanda on 31 January 2024.

From there, five ventures will be selected to enter the DGIx Sprint — a 12-month structured acceleration programme that provides them financial, technical and methodological support from the WFP Innovation Accelerator, #SDF and other partners. The teams will also join our Innovation Network Community.

Learn about the participating teams below:

Photo: M-taka

M-taka

M-taka is a technology-powered waste management platform that encourages behaviour change to effectively manage waste.

Solid waste management is a pressing global challenge. Annually, humans generate two billion tonnes of waste, with a staggering 81% of this waste does not undergo recycling. M-taka connects individuals across the waste value chain, enabling communities to learn and adopt sustainable waste management practices. Its core, the M-taka app, streamlines the collection, aggregation and value addition of recyclable materials for households, businesses and institutions.

Photo: Hesotech

Hesotech GmbH

Hesotech is a landslide and flood monitoring solution that captures images and accurate local weather data.

Landslides and floods take a considerable toll on Rwanda’s communities and economy. Through a patented iMaster/DocuCam technology, Hesotech monitors large areas of land and spots small changes in the land and water levels that would be missed by the human eye. This system has the potential to detect and inform at-risk communities before disasters, save lives and reduce the impact of disasters. Hesotech has piloted this technology in Nyabihu District in Rwanda, covering approximately 12 square kilometres.

Photo: DMA Limited

VIDA by DMA Limited

Vida Core is a cloud-based platform that leverages technology, data and partnerships to deliver innovative solutions for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

In Tanzania, there are more small to medium-scale farms than large, commercial ones. Smallholder farmers face challenges like poor infrastructure, limited access to credit and changing climate conditions. VIDA, a mobile app, tackles these issues by offering solutions for smallholder farmers, agro-dealers, field agents and input suppliers. It provides tools that give personalized advice on farming needs, links farmers to suppliers and helps them access global and local markets.

Photo: Self Help Africa

Still I Rise by Self Help Africa and hiveonline

Still I Rise strengthens and enhances female smallholder farmers’ access to markets.

Globally, climate financing is falling short, leaving significant gaps. Smallholder farmers, particularly women, struggle to access funds. Still I Rise enables women with skills and financial aid for agroecological ventures, mitigating climate risks. Teaming up with Hiveonline, a sustainable finance group, they have developed an app that helps women entrepreneurs digitally record financial transactions and enhances their connections to the market.

Photo Credits: BenBen

Keva

Keva is a land rights monitoring, reporting and verification platform.

It is estimated that most owned land in Ghana is under customary law. Customary law is based on the traditions, customs, or norms of a local community. Often, transactions under customary sectors involve little to no documentation, resulting in land disputes, conflicts and investment losses. To address these challenges, Keva uses a blockchain platform to document land tenure and incentivise projects that convert abandoned or degraded land into forests. Customary land owners overseeing substantial agricultural areas can publicly record their land ownership, enhancing land rights security and market exposure.

Photo: The Source Plus

ApiTrace by The Source Plus

The Source Plus uses blockchain to enhance the transparency and credibility of the honey value chain.

Unpredictable weather, limited financial access and market barriers significantly affect beekeepers’ livelihoods. Moreover, consumers and companies seek transparency regarding the source of honey, which isn’t always available. The Source Plus ApiTrace app reveals the journey of honey from its source to its destination. The app has a built-in data analytics platform to provide real-time risk assessment to mitigate potential contamination. These verification mechanisms ensure the safety and quality of honey products for consumers and enable honey producers to access premium markets.

Photo Credits: Waternaa

Waternaa by ADADK

The Waternaa System is a Jordan-based innovation that uses affordable sensors to monitor water quality.

Inadequate water management can lead to pollution or water contamination, negatively impacting public health and ecosystems. According to UNDP, 700 million people could be displaced due to water scarcity by 2030, with 250 million (of these people) in Africa alone. Waternaa tests water samples and identifies pollution at its early stages. The system continuously monitors water quality and sends alerts to households, farmers and authorities so that they can take measures to ensure their water is clean and safe for use.

Photo: Map&Rank

Residat by Map&Rank

Map&Rank employs drone technology and big data to create an accessible climate risk information hub for communities.

This year, as the world witnesses one of the warmest years in recorded history, many communities that contribute the least to the climate crisis are bearing the brunt of its impacts with limited means to cope. Residat enables community members to understand local climate risks and offers support to formulate preparatory action plans. This helps manage and minimize damage during and after climate disasters. Residat provides data visualisation in dashboards that can be customised according to the regional dialects and cultural aspects of target areas.

AgroSfer’s extension agent trains farmers on new techniques for pineapple farming. Photo: AgroSfer

AgroSfer

AgroSfer is a software-as-a-service platform (SaaS) that digitises the farm value chain from production activities to the marketplace, thereby establishing end-to-end traceability.

Knowing where food comes from matters. Therefore, tracing its source is immensely valuable as it helps to ensure its quality, authenticity and safety for both companies and consumers. AgroSfer’s monitors both direct and indirect sources for tracing to build a more robust view of the farm value chain. The platform also features farmer profiling, farm mapping, crop management and the creation of an online marketplace.

Photo: Nads

Nysa Aerial Data Solutions (NADS)

NADS promotes urban green spaces by combining Nature-based Solutions with satellite data, drones and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology.

There has been a significant reduction in green spaces across Malawi in the last decade. This decline is contributing to a concerning increase in local temperatures. Sustainable landscaping solutions are crucial in conserving natural resources and fostering biodiversity. Solutions such as NADS offer real-time information on land use and environmental conditions to enable targeted green space development.

The DGIx Digital & Green Innovation Accelerator is a collaborative effort between the WFP Innovation Accelerator and the Smart Development Fund (#SDF) and is powered by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Union (EU). It seeks high-impact digital ventures and projects solving some of the most pressing environmental challenges in selected countries.

Through a meticulous selection process, ventures and solution providers are chosen to receive comprehensive support including financial backing, technical expertise, and methodological guidance from the WFP Innovation Accelerator and its esteemed partners.

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WFP Innovation Accelerator

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