Food for thought: UN launches accelerator for hunger

10 February 2014. El Fasher: Members of the UNAMID troops from Rwanda escort World Food Programme (WFP) trucks during a trip from El Fasher to Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur. The road trip, nearly 100 kilometers, took more than 8 hours due to difficult road conditions. The convoy, formed by 10 trailers with two containers each, was protected all the way by UNAMID troops from Ethiopia and Rwanda. More than 350 metric tons of goods, basically oil and sorghum, were distributed to the Internally Displaced People (IDP) in Nifasha and Shaddad camps. WFP through its partner, Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA), provides food for around 20,000 beneficiaries in the camps, who have fled from different surrounding villages in the region; some 14km north of the South Darfur border and at the midpoint between El-Fasher and Nyala. WFP food remains the main source of food for IDPs in Shangil Tobaya. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID.

Life is hard and can become unimaginably difficult if you’re left weak and malnourished. World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics show that about 795 million people don’t have enough food to lead a healthy life. Of those 795 million people, most of them live in developing countries.

It is with these facts that the United Nations (UN) World Food Program (WFP) has launched the Innovation Accelerator which focuses on food relief, progressing towards ending hunger by 2030.

The project, based in Munich, Germany, was started by Ertharin Cousin, who has over 25-years of national and international non-profit leadership experience. The WFP in collaboration with experts and entrepreneurs across the world will brainstorm new business models and ideas to tackle the issue of global hunger.

What does the programme entail?

“Every day, WFP and our partners work to meet the emergency food assistance needs of the world’s poorest, yet toughest people living in the most vulnerable places around the globe. What we do is not enough to achieve our shared goal of ending hunger by 2030,” said Cousin.

“We must boldly seek new ideas, tools and solutions that make more food available, accessible and ultimately give every person everywhere the ability to feed her or his own children,” he continues.

The teams will collaborate for three to six months at a time on the ideas and projects that are either proposed by the WFP or their collaborating innovators. They’ll also use ideas which originate from general public forums.

In their goal of eradicating global hunger, the WFP have set out four strategic objectives. This includes protecting the livelihoods of people, building and rebuilding livelihoods and reducing malnutrition.

Currently, the WFP has undertaken projects in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan.

The Innovation Accelerator will not only launch new business models by servicing the relevant needs of societies, but it’ll provide much-needed support and initiatives for those people in need.

Featured image: UNAMID via Flickr



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