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Innovation Lab

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

Franziska Atwii Team Innovation

Innovative ideas for #ZeroHunger

After years of decreasing hunger, the global population suffering from hunger is rising again. Environmental degradation, climate change, social inequalities, and conflicts are increasing, threatening the livelihoods of millions. Thus, when, if not now, is the time to take action?

Patricia Niewels Team Corporate Partnerships

With the help of innovative and creative solutions that make our world a better place, we aim to achieve our goal #oneplanet #zerohunger.

There are so many great ideas within our organization inspired by the problems we witness within the communities where we work. To give these ideas the chance to grow big, Welthungerhilfe (WHH) has created a space, where our organization's employees can present and test these ideas and exchange them with colleagues around the globe – #InnoLab!

Within the Innovation Lab, WHH colleagues can refine, iterate and advance their ideas in a short timeframe with facilitation from the Innovation Unit. A jury, made up of both external and internal WHH colleagues, rates the presented ideas and selects one winning idea.

Next steps after the Innovation Lab

We see the Innovation Lab as a vehicle for our incubation and acceleration portfolio. The winning idea will be added to this innovation portfolio, where it will be refined and jointly developed with our Innovation Unit. Additionally, the winning team receives €20,000 in funding to financially support the further development of the idea.

The ideas that were not selected as winners of the Innovation Lab are of course still followed up and shared within the organization aiming at finding a place within WHH to develop them further.

Innovation Lab 2023 – Tech Edition

How can new technologies be used to solve local development challenges?

This year's #innolab2023 is all about (new) technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality or classic apps. Teams from all Welthungerhilfe countries will work together with technology partners from Germany on innovative technological ideas for Zero Hunger.

Over the course of several months, the teams will further develop their ideas online, in the field with potential target users, and in Germany with the technology partners and in the Welthungerhilfe office. They will learn innovative working techniques and technologies and build a prototype. This will be presented to all Welthungerhilfe colleagues at the end of the entire event in October. After several months of intensive work, the winning team will be selected at a live-streamed event. Which team had the best idea of how new technologies can be used to solve local development problems in the end? Which team was able to convince the jury with its prototype and presentation and will receive the prize of 20,000 euros for further idea refinement?

Call for action

Are you interested in supporting the Innovation Lab? That would be much appreciated! Especially this year's #innolab2023 - Tech Edition offers a wide range of possibilities: Starting with financial support for individual teams, or collaboration with you as a tech partner, to full support, both technical and financial.

We have compiled overviews of support opportunities for this year's Innovation Lab:

Feel free to contact us, and we will find the right path for you.

Innovation Lab 2022

Grafik Innolab 2022

The #innolab2022 was themed around gender equality and climate resilience.

From 52 ideas submitted from more than 20 different countries, the ideas "Nature Now" from Uganda and "Smiling Nature" from Haiti and Mali received the winning votes.

Wasserpumpe "Nature Now"
With a solar water pump “Nature Now” wants to support small-scale farmers to increase their productivity and empower them to increase their climate resilience. © Welthungerhilfe
Illustration und Foto einer grün bewachsenen Anbaufläche
By planting trees with high carbon absorption and high nutritional value, “Smiling Nature” wants to increase food and nutrition security and generate income for participating communities. © Welthungerhilfe

During the ten days of the Innovation Lab, the teams worked intensively on their ideas along the user-centric approach. At the end of #innolab2022, they presented the results in a 3-minute pitch at the final Shark Tank event with more than 230 participants.

The following videos show the winning pitches of "Nature Now" and "Smiling Nature."

Below you will find the five ideas of the #innolab2022 finalists with information about their countries and topics.

Team 1: "My Week, My Power – Cozy Menstruation, Happy Life"

Countries: Uganda, Pakistan

Idea: Providing women and girls with menstrual hygiene products, including counseling and gender-friendly toilet design.

Team 2: "Masterminds of Menina – Helping Farmers Break Barriers"

Country: Liberia

Idea: Combination of remittances, graduates and new farming methods for better adaptation to climate change and food security.

Team 3: "Nature Now – Impacting Communities for Good"

Country: Uganda

Idea: Using a solar-powered water pump, "Nature Now" aims to help smallholder farmers increase their productivity and improve their climate resilience.

Team 4: "WRF (Water Recycling Filter) – Giving More Life To Water"

Country: Bangladesh

Idea: A water recycling filter that gives more life to water and provides more water for daily use to refugees in refugee camps.

Team 5: "Smiling Nature – Planting Trees to Improve Lives"

Countries: Haiti, Mali

Idea: By planting trees with high carbon sequestration and nutritional value, "Smiling Nature" aims to increase food and nutrition security and generate income for affected populations.

Innovation Lab 2021

The "Mobile Vertical Garden" for internally displaced persons was the winning idea at #innolab2021. It was developed by participants from Sudan and Bangladesh. The mobile vertical garden allows people to grow nutritious food in a small space and includes a non-electrical fridge.

Illustration showing the mobile vertical garden
Illustration of the mobile vertical garden, winning idea of the Innolab 2021. © Welthungerhilfe

The following video shows the pitch of the mobile vertical garden at the #innolab2021. After the team worked intensively on the further development of this idea during the ten days of the Innovation Lab, they prepared a presentation to share this idea with the jury and the participants.

Below you find the six finalist ideas of #innolab2021 with information on their countries and topics.

Team 1: Solar-powered drip-irrigation garden kit

Country: Burundi

Idea: An affordable DIY kit for building a solar-powered drip irrigation garden to grow food for young women in rural areas longing for financial independence

Team 2: Mobile vertical garden for internally displaced persons

Countries: Bangladesh and Sudan

Idea: An affordable, space-saving and portable vertical garden to grow food with integrated non-electrical fridge for refugees looking to grow food for consumption and selling

Team 3: Transformation of organic waste into organic fertilizer and feed

Countries: Uganda, Kenya, Germany

Idea: Social enterprise supporting smallholder farmers collecting garbage in setting up organic waste management solutions (e. g., teaching them about Black Soldier Flies) and buying excess produce from these farmers

Team 4: Plastic recycling companies for and with communities

Countries: Somaliland, Liberia, Kenya

Idea: Setup of small plastic processing entities in peri-urban areas for women collecting plastic in peri-urban areas wanting to generate more income and reducing negative impact plastic pollution has on their lives

Team 5: Community using semi-mechanized tools for restoration

Country: Burkina Faso

Idea: Connect smallholder farmers looking to restore their land with craftsmen (for machinery) and existing agricultural coops of young people (doing the restoration work)

Team 6: Platform and community for new parents who lack support

Country: Zimbabwe

Idea: Social media platform or app providing moral support and guidance to expectant and new mothers and fathers

Patricia Niewels

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