27.12.2017 | Blog

Innovative Ideas to Fight Hunger

The digital revolution is changing business, politics and society. Humanitarian assistance and development cooperation are not exactly frontrunners of innovation, but in these fields too increasing use is being made of the enormous potential for digitisation and networking.

Tawanda Hove und Franziska Kerting talk about the App AgriShare to TV journalists. © Welthungerhilfe
Anna Kröger Team Communications


The best ideas are not thought up at a desk, but rather come from practical experience, as has been illustrated by Welthungerhilfe staff around the world, who have taken part in the in-house Innovation Award. Three winning projects are now being put to the test in a pilot phase, and checked for scaling potential.

There were three winners in the in-house competition: two apps and a concept for providing advice. What the three ideas have in common is that they are all scalable and they can be implemented in several projects and countries. This is vital to speed the fight against hunger, and to reach the goal of “zero hunger by 2030”.

Child Growth Monitor: augmented reality saves children's lives

Child Growth Monitoris an app, that uses augmented reality to detect malnutrition in children. A 3D scan checks height and weight, so the app can immediately determine whether the child is malnourished. There is currently a working prototype, which is set to go into the pilot phase in India in January 2018.

This app allows aid organisatinos to save money and above all time during assessment. It allows them to detect in time where actin is needed, and in many cases, this can save lives. Digital data is vollected directly, facilitating monitoring of entire regions or countries and making it possible to react faster and more effectively.

The Child Growth Monitor app detects malnutrition using augmented reality. © Welthungerhilfe
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The Child Growth Monitor app detects malnutrition using augmented reality. © Welthungerhilfe
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AgriShare: a shared economy app for small farmers

AgriShare is a smartphone app intended to link African small farmers with other small farmers, organisations and companies, to enable cooperation based on the shared economy. It allows them to share resources and offer services. For example, a farmer who has no tractor can use the app to display and rent tractors in a certain area, or with certain specifications. People can use the app to find a mechanic and make a direct booking. The idea is currently being developed further, and it should enter the pilot phase in Zimbabwe in February 2018. The idea has also received recognition outside Welthungerhilfe: AgriShare won the Jury Award at the WFP Innovation Pitch Night.

This is how the interface of AgriShare could look like.
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Tawanda Hove presents AgriShare at the WFP Innovation Accelerator.
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Small farmers in Kenya at work. AgriShare wants to expand the sharing of resources. © Welthungerhilfe
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Qur’an for Nutrition

Qur’an for Nutrition is a concept for providing advice on health and nutrition. The idea is that religious leaders or other opinion leaders in the community become actively involved in designing material for education and providing advice.

Welthungerhilfe staff in Afghanistan have reported barriers to spreading information about nutrition. Rather than consulting professionals, parents and pregnant women often seek the opinion of mullahs (Islamic scholars). These people may recommend having another child, even if the mother is not in an appropriate state of health, or they may discourage contraception. They base this on the Qur’an, however in many cases this is a misinterpretation.

When this Afghan woman became pregnant, she stopped nursing her 8-month-old child. The consequence: malnutrition. Education with Quran for Nutrition should prevent such cases. © Nasrullah Sultani

Qur’an for Nutrition aims to improve the nutrition of pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children. Local staff would like to work closely with mullahs, advising and informing them, in order to develop joint content for advising parents. This could take the form of videos covering messages from the Qur’an relating to nutrition, for example. The Qur’an states that every child should be breastfed, so long as it does not harm the mother’s health.

This concept could be used in other countries and with other religious groups. The main element of the idea is to take notice of local traditions, and to cooperate with local opinion leaders, instead of appearing to be unwanted competition.

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