Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) has partnered with World Food Program Kenya through its Innovation Accelerator Program to establish innovation centres in the counties. WFP launched the Innovation Accelerator program in 2015 to pilot new solutions and scale promising innovations to disrupt hunger.
Speaking during the officiating ceremony, Federico Naccarato the Head of Innovation at WFP – Kenya said the partnership will see KeNIA and WFP synergise to maximise on unique strengths from both parties.
“This partnership will help the two bridge the gap between the very technological, developed and innovative Kenya that we experience in Nairobi and other big cities in Kenya and another reality that is represented by the arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya where often innovation and technology and innovative solutions more generally don’t find fertile soil,” he stated.
KeNIA CEO Dr Tonny Omwansa said, “Our measure of success is the number of ideas that find their way into the market. However, do not have the capacity on our own to push every idea into the market and this is where partnerships come in. The WFP has focussed a lot on food security which fits into the Big 4 agenda”.
The WFP Innovation Accelerator sources support and scales high-potential solutions to end hunger worldwide. According to Lauren Landis, Representative and Country Director for WFP Kenya, the innovation centres will provide spaces for county government staff, end-users, and innovators to get access to training on innovation methodologies and to develop, test and scale solutions to problems.
WFP will also finance the innovations by offering a lump-sum loan to selected communities that can then be blended with donor funding to make it adaptable for different contexts. This would provide flexibility to directly link country offices to funds for scaling.
Known as the Silicon Valley of Africa, Kenya has one of the most thriving innovation ecosystems in Africa. It is the home to world-renowned innovations such as mobile money transfer service Mpesa and crisis mapping tool Ushahidi.