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Fighting Hunger with Digital Innovations

Short thesis

The international community has promised to eradicate hunger by 2030. During the last decade, numbers are declining, but current progress is too slow if this goal is to be reached. Welthungerhilfe is a pioneer in the use of digital innovations to scale up the fight against hunger. We would like to present two promising examples: the Child Growth Monitor App, which is designed to save children's lives using Augmented Reality, while the sharing economy app AgriShare connects smallholder farmers.

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Description

Believe it or not, for the first time in human history the eradication of hunger is within our grasp. Even though, statistically speaking, every 9th person on earth still goes to bed hungry. That means 815 million people suffer from hunger worldwide.

Welthungerhilfe, one of the largest private aid organisations in Germany, has adopted UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 and aims to eradicate hunger wherever the organization works by 2030 (#ZeroHunger). In 2016, the organisation reached around 8.4 million people in 39 countries.

However, to speed up progress to #Zerohunger and ensure the goal is actually reached, new approaches must be developed. Welthungerhilfe has been successfully testing the use of digital innovations for years. We show two promising examples that have recently been developed in an internal innovation camp and which are currently being tested in a pilot phase for their scaling potential.

The Child Growth Monitor is an app that uses augmented reality to detect malnutrition in children. A 3D scan records height and weight to immediately determine if the child is malnourished. Machine learning improves results over time. Digital data collection saves time and money and shows immediately where action is required. Initial trials of the app were conducted in India in March, where malnutrition is widespread among children.

The smartphone app AgriShare is intended to connect smallholder farmers with each other to enable collaboration based on the principle of the sharing economy. The project, which is to enter the pilot phase in Zimbabwe, has already won an award at the WFP Innovation Pitch Night.

 We present the digital innovations and want to report on the experiences and opportunities and discuss the limits and risks with you.

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