All in WFP

Turning the tables

Getting nutrition data from the Republic of Congo’s remote health centers is a notorious headache. Health workers fill out log books by hand on a day-to-day basis. Once a month, they compile a report that is sent to a district officer, by whatever means of transportation is available. The district officer compiles the data for a district before passing on a summary to a departmental head at the Ministry in the capital, Brazzaville. The lag time typically amounts to five weeks — or more. By the time the information is analyzed and shared, it is stale.

A team of enterprising people from WFP and CAI are now working to change this.

mVAM in 2018: Faster, Higher, Stronger

We are proud to report that, to date, mVAM has been activated in over 40 countries and activities are planned in six further locations. But our focus was not only on rolling out remote food security monitoring to new locations. As we’ve shown over the course of 2018, our work is just as much about making mVAM faster by automating the process from data collection through to visualisation in near real-time dashboards, as well as scaling up nutrition data collection; making mVAM fly higher through expanding our range of use cases and rolling out effective two-way communication tools; and making mVAM results stronger by working on eliminating bias and improving the reliability of mVAM results.

Above the Clouds - How drones can support early warning systems in Bolivia

Bolivia is one of South America’s most natural disaster-prone nations and there is eagerness to bring in drones to complement climate change adaption initiatives already happening on the ground. This gives local authorities a data boost when predicting rainfall monitoring crops: “We use satellite images with Sentinel but these have time intervals, so the information varies. Drone technology will allow us to monitor at any time the phenological shifts of the crop. Prosuco has already purchased a drone. So we can corroborate the information from observing a fox’s behaviour with local observers.”

An app to correct for bias in mVAM results

An inherent problem with mobile surveys is that respondents who are able to own a phone tend to be from households that are better-off and literate.

This leads to a selection bias in our results: respondents who are able to participate in the mVAM surveys are systematically different from those who are not. How do we ensure that our survey results are representative of the real population?

Entering the Era of Smartphones for Farmers: Surprises and Discoveries

Most farmers in Zambia are smallholders who lack the means to access and participate in markets. Their limited ability to access information about additional markets outside their immediate community makes them effectively invisible to other traders who may be willing to pay them a better price for their crops. In response to this need of farmers to gain improved access markets, WFP launched an ambitious start-up in May 2017: Maano, a virtual farmers’ market that aims to help rural smallholder farmers sell their produce by providing them a trustworthy platform to advertise and sell their produce.

Although the app was a hit among the farmers, who went from having limited access to markets to being able to increase their visibility and profitability, a post-pilot user interface and user experience assessment highlighted several challenges the farmers faced while using the app.

Cloud on the horizon: rebooting flood mapping in Congo

In November 2017, the remote Congolese town of Impfondo experienced rains that flooded vast areas of land and forced thousands of people to evacuate. For WFP, responding was a challenge, and determining needs took some guesswork.

Soon afterwards, as the government started work on repairing the infrastructure, WFP started looking at solutions to ensure a faster response to this type of disaster in the future. This is where Cloud to Street came in, a group that uses high resolution satellite imagery to estimate local flooding exposure and to monitor its impacts in near real-time, providing essential, credible and detailed information to first responders.

When retail, humanitarian assistance and digital technology meet

The historical image associated with humanitarian aid is one of distribution points, long lines and bags of rice. But as the world evolves, so too does the assistance provided by the World Food Programme (WFP).

WFP strives to make food assistance a dignified and human experience, now giving beneficiaries in developed markets cash to buy food directly through the retail sector. Bags of rice have transformed into simple electronic cards which allow refugees to define their own food preferences at local shops.

A year of innovation

In the WFP Year in Review, they’ve distilled countless hours of research, impact evaluations, interviews and number crunching — looking back at the people, partners and ideas that shaped an extraordinary year for the Innovation Accelerator. It features some of the global start-ups and WFP entrepreneurs we supported in 2017 and provides a full overview of our game-changing innovations, some of which will continue to grow in 2018.

Tech for Food wins big at the ‘Innovate for Refugees’ awards ceremony in Amman

Last month, Tech for Food was announced as one of five winners of ‘Innovate for Refugees’, a competition organised by the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) for the Pan Arab region. The competition, which is in its second year, is designed to attract the best tech-driven solutions addressing the challenges faced by refugees all over the world.

The team was one of 20 semi-finalists who underwent a round of training sessions and presented their work to a jury that brought together a number of key investors and business people. The five winning teams, including Tech for Food, were awarded $20,000 each.