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The UN Wants Your Ideas for Ending World Hunger

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Delivering food to those in need can be a challenge. Groups like World Food Programme are committed to finding new technologies to address the global crisis. You can join us in taking action in this issue here

It’s time to adopt new technologies to end world hunger.

Taking a page from the startup industry, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator is now accepting out-of-the box idea submissions from anyone ready to tackle the global crisis, NPR reports

Take Action: Tweet Starbucks asking them to donate 100% of unused food to charity in the UK

WFP will grant $100,000 in funding to the right proposal. In 2017, the organization received more than 1,160 applications and only picked 29 people to attend one of their Accelerator boot camps. Individuals who survive boot camp move on to the “Sprint” program, where they get to workshop their pitch before getting it on the ground. 

Launched in 2016, Accelerator is a hub for more than two dozen projects aiming to provide new ways to efficiently feed those in need. 

The program is located in Munich, and receives all of its funding from the German government but is looking to grow with the help of additional public and private contributions, as well as partners like the German Aerospace Center. While many employees work out of the company’s HQ in the city, they’re encouraged to take their ideas out into the real world and some staff are permanently stationed in East Africa and the Middle East. 

Read More: Hunger 101: The Low-Down on World Hunger

What kinds of ideas is Accelerator looking for? An artificial intelligence program that reads images captured by drones after a natural disaster is just one example of a project supported by the initiative. 

Dalili, a cell phone app built to make grocery shopping easier for families receiving assistance from WFP, is another that’s already up in running in Lebanon.

In order to develop technologies, like the computerized garden gadget that helps crops grow in places like Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp —home to more than 30,000 Syrians displaced by civil war— Accelerator staff must be hands on. 

Sam Ng, a member of the Accelerator team, told NPR he really pushed his limits one time in 2016, by driving a truck full of food supplies past armed security, to simulate dangerous conditions in Eastern Aleppo, Syria. This experience got Ng thinking about how self-driving vehicles could be better used to deliver resources over destroyed infrastructure. Now he’s experimenting with the concept in Uganda.