The UN Wants Your Ideas for Ending World Hunger
The World Food Programme is ready to hand out $100,000 to the right project.
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.
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.
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.
Are you ready to take action to end hunger? It doesn’t matter if your background is in finance, engineering or communications, we want to see your boldest ideas for a #ZeroHunger world. Apply for the @WFP_Innovation Challenge by 24 September https://t.co/pBovZY7FC8pic.twitter.com/232N902stG— David Beasley (@WFPChief) September 14, 2018
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.