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Vermessen eines Kindes mit dem Child Growth Monitor

Innovation

Florian Landorff Team Innovation

Sharing ideas, scaling impact: We work with global partnerships and social entrepreneurship to benefit people living in poverty. The global community has set its sights high: a world without hunger by 2030. To achieve this, up to 828 million hungry people must have secure access to food. Although the number of people suffering from hunger has fallen by almost a third since the beginning of the millennium, efforts must be tripled to achieve the goal by 2030. One way is to promote innovation – to make the most effective use of money and labor. 

Tawanda Hove und Franziska Kerting in conversation. Sharing Economy and Augmented Reality

Learn more about Welthungerhilfe's innovations: AgriShare, Child Growth Monitor, and Qur'an for Nutrition.

An idea only becomes an innovation when it is taken up and developed into a solution that gives people a benefit. Experts refer to this as "incubation". Innovations are also an important issue for Welthungerhilfe. Strong ideas have now emerged from various innovation competitions, and also from the creative work of Welthungerhilfe teams in the various countries. 

Challenge

The methods and approaches employed by Welthungerhilfe to fight hunger, malnutrition and poverty have been tremendously successful in reducing hunger in our target communities. However, we understand the need for bolder, more ambitious approaches to meet our goal of eradicating hunger by 2030.

Unfortunately, rapid technological advancements can have negative impacts on the most marginalised. Many existing digital agricultural solutions don’t address core challenges faced by smallholder farmers and may even exacerbate inequalities due to the digital divide.

Moreover, a lack of financial and human resources hampers efforts to achieve sustainable food and nutrition security in vulnerable communities. For that reason, Welthungerhilfe promotes innovations which maximise the impact of available resources and address the obstacles faced by our target groups. This focus on innovation has developed Welthungerhilfe’s capability to cultivate and nurture disruptive ideas both internally and externally that complement our key focus areas.

Our Approach

How Welthungerhilfe promotes innovation: 

The in-house Innovation Award honors innovative ideas. The winner in 2021: Mobile Vertical Gardens. 84 million people are currently displaced by conflicts, natural disasters and climate change. Many of these people are malnourished and undernourished. They can’t grow vegetables in makeshift camps, for example. For one thing, there is often no land to do so. For another, uncertainty keeps people from farming: will I even be able to harvest the yield of my efforts, or will I be in another place by then? 

The idea of mobile gardens promises a simple and efficient solution. 

Ein Beispiel für den Aufbau eines mobilen Gartens an einer Wand, 2021.
Mobile gardens can be used to efficiently grow food in a small area. © Welthungerhilfe

With a small footprint, movable and built from locally available materials, a mobile garden can produce enough vegetables for a family of five. The prototype is being developed jointly by Welthungerhilfe teams in Bangladesh and Sudan and will ideally evolve into a version that is useful to people worldwide. 

Innovation Lab

Finding and developing innovative solutions that bring us closer to 'One Planet – Zero Hunger'.

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Welthungerhilfe is also working on effective solutions in the fight against hunger in the digital realm:

Zwei Männer und eine Frau mit einem Smartphone in der Hand, Simbabwe 2021.
AgriShare is a virtual marketplace for agricultural equipment rental. © Welthungerhilfe

Social Businesses at Welthungerhilfe

Social businesses can be a good platform for giving social solutions the widest possible reach – and thus the greatest possible impact. Welthungerhilfe has been involved in social businesses since 2017. Today, the organization is financially and operationally involved in a total of five different purpose-driven businesses in different countries in Africa. The businesses offer products and services designed for (particularly) in-need target groups, such as smallholder farmers, and are aligned with their specific needs.  

In some cases, these social businesses have emerged from their own successful non-profit projects; in other cases, Welthungerhilfe joins forces with existing social businesses and supports them with operational structures, as well as its expertise in the rural context and markets. Most of its own digital products are also to be managed in social businesses to ensure their economic sustainability. Although Welthungerhilfe is represented on the supervisory boards of the social businesses, all companies have their own local management. 

Eine Frau und ein Mann stehen an einer Wasserpumpe, Sierra Leone 2021.
Sierra Leone: With DIY water pumps made from locally available materials and through other efforts, people gain access to their own water supply or sanitation facilities for the first time. © WASAP Company

Our Impact

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals call for global partnerships to create sustainability and efficiency for the benefit of the poorest. That is why there are collaborations between development cooperation and the private sector. This creates new avenues for funding and economic sustainability guarantees long-term commitment.  

Welthungerhilfe is entering into new partnerships with socially oriented companies to make products and services available to local people: in Uganda with locally produced water filters, in Zimbabwe with agricultural inputs and in Ethiopia with seedlings grown in sterile nutrient solution.  

More and more non-governmental organizations are opening up to private capital markets and private investment. Welthungerhilfe is also relying on the positive effects of a sustainable market economy. It is using its many years of experience to develop inclusive and social entrepreneurship into a strategic pillar of its work.

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