The fight against world hunger is being revolutionized.
A new startup accelerator by started by the World Food Program of the United Nations is incubating the best ideas from around the world to end global hunger by 2030.
What is the World Food Program (WFP)?
- It is a UN frontline agency, and the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger. Hunger affects one of every seven people worldwide.
- The WFP helps over 80M people in 82 countries every year.
- They have over 11,000 employees, most in remote areas helping the poor and hungry.
- They assist during emergencies, like war and natural disaster, and afterward to help rebuild communities.
— WFP deutsch (@WFP_DE) August 8, 2016
The massive organization with around 80 offices worldwide already has the people, the infrastructure, the local relationships, and the practical expertise to carry out their goal. Now all they need is scalable innovations. And that’s why they’ve launched their own accelerator to take great new ideas and implement them to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of ending world hunger by 2030.
What does solving the problem entail?
Around 795M people, mostly in developing countries, don’t receive enough food to live a healthy, active lifestyle. To fix this, every part of the supply and delivery of food needs innovation.
- The initiative will revolutionize everything: how school children receive food, how farmers grow and store crops, and how to respond to crisis situations.
- One of the ideas currently being tested is a smartphone app optimized for low-bandwidth usage which will give farmers access to weather conditions, market prices of crops, and farming tips.
- Another is trying to take the approximately 25% of produce rejected for cosmetic reasons and keep it from being wasted by using it in school lunch programs.
The program was created as a Silicon Valley-style accelerator, and is funded by the German government with a $5.5M grant. Thus far, 12 ideas have been funded, and 20 more will be by the end of 2016. Funding ranges from $50,000 to $100,000, and is accompanied by coaching to help refine and scale the ideas.