(Contibutor: GKI Senior Program Officer Amanda Rose)
Pursuing innovation — whether incremental or radical, technological or process-based — can be a risky undertaking. That’s because innovation requires a fundamental break from the status quo, demands vulnerability, and absorbs often-limited resources. But while innovation may be risky, it remains a global development imperative; without inspired creativity and risk-taking, ambitious development targets will remain unmet. We at the Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI) hold innovation as a central tenet of our work because of its potentially transformative role in tackling pressing global problems.
Take the effort to reduce post harvest food loss in developing countries, for example. This is an ambitious undertaking indeed when you consider that up to 40% of crops in developing countries are lost before they make it to market. But it’s a necessary one if we are to feed 9 billion people by 2050, given that 1.2 billion people are already food insecure or undernourished.
The Rockefeller Foundation launched YieldWise (https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/initiatives/yieldwise/) in February 2016 in response to this need. YieldWise is a 7-year, USD $130 million initiative to demonstrate significant reduction of post harvest food loss in Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2021, The Rockefeller Foundation aims to show 50% reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa, beginning with a focus on four value chains in three countries: maize in Tanzania, cassava and tomatoes in Nigeria, and mangoes in Kenya.
To help meet this target, The Rockefeller Foundation invited GKI to support YieldWise as its Innovation Partner. GKI will work to boost the degree to which innovation—cultivated internally as well as sourced externally—is used to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately the impact of YieldWise. GKI will support the core YieldWise implementation partners in augmenting their Collaborative Innovation capacity. Additionally, GKI will scan for innovations that have the potential to reduce post harvest food loss at all stages of the Foundation’s priority value chains, however incrementally or radically.
This exciting partnership builds upon a legacy of work with The Rockefeller Foundation on the post harvest food loss challenge: GKI served as the Social Innovation Lab for the Foundation’s Food Waste and Spoilage Initiative in 2013-15. GKI’s Social Innovation Lab ultimately engaged 240 stakeholders and helped spark novel ideas for how transformative impact might be achieved on the post harvest food loss challenge by applying a range of participatory design tools and methods. To learn more about GKI’s Social Innovation Lab for the Food Waste and Spoilage Initiative, click here.
GKI joins a vibrant network of organizations—farmers, government agencies, buyers, processors, input suppliers, researchers, multilateral organizations, and other non-profits—working together to tackle the post harvest food loss challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa through YieldWise. We are thrilled to continue working with global thought-leaders and practitioners throughout the initiative. Stay tuned to learn more about ourmultifaceted role as the YieldWise Innovation Partner.