Africa

A Boost for Rwanda’s Food System and More: WFP Challenge Making a Splash

Supporting innovations in the food system in Rwanda is the goal of a UN-backed initiative launched in the capital, Kigali, on Wednesday. 

The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge comes amid worsening food insecurity in East Africa due to rising conflict, climate change, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic. 


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Both technical support and a total of $300,000 in financing will be made available to help start-ups, cooperatives, and small and medium enterprises, to scale-up locally-driven solutions that contribute to the economy and address different gaps in supplying nutritious food. 


Reaching talented entrepreneurs 


The programme is an initiative by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and Impact Hub Kigali, which offers resources that foster innovation and entrepreneurship, such as incubation programmes and bootcamps. 


The partners are supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), specifically its Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs, and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 


The initiative will run simultaneously in Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda, and is being made possible with the support of $2 million from USAID.  


“The biggest challenge for many entrepreneurs in Eastern Africa is not only access to funding, but also technical support that furthers their concepts,” said Jeremie Pigé, head of the WFP IGNITE Innovation Hub for Eastern Africa. 


“Through this generous support by USAID, we are confident that we will be able to reach many bright and talented entrepreneurs in the region who might have been left behind.”  


Providing tailored support 


The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge seeks innovative solutions that contribute to food security in areas such as resilience to shocks and stress, access to safe and nutritious food, improved food supply chains, the empowerment of smallholder farmers, and the advancement of food security for all.


The call for applications runs through 4 February. 


Those selected will receive grant funding of up to $50,000 and six months “acceleration support”, including connections to experts, mentors and partners, as well as other support to address business gaps.  


“With the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge, we will provide tailored support for local entrepreneurs to scale their impact in the Rwandan food system,” said Mafer Betancourt, Managing Director of Impact Hub Kigali. 


“Ventures will undergo diagnostics at the start of the programme and will be able to co-design their own acceleration journey, indicating the support they require, from coaching to peer and expert support such as legal or accounting services, among others.”  

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12 Comments

  1. How will the programme ensure the inclusivity of diverse communities in Rwanda during these challenging times?

    1. The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge aims to promote inclusivity by actively seeking out and supporting diverse community-led initiatives that address specific needs within different regions of Rwanda. By providing technical support and financial resources to start-ups and enterprises across various sectors, the programme endeavors to create opportunities for a wide range of entrepreneurs to contribute to the sustainable development of the food system, thereby fostering economic growth and resilience amidst ongoing challenges.

  2. It’s inspiring to see initiatives like this one making a real impact in addressing food insecurity in East Africa. The collaboration between different organizations and the financial support provided will definitely help local entrepreneurs scale up and contribute to the economy through innovative solutions.

  3. This initiative by the UN World Food Programme in Rwanda is truly commendable. It’s vital to support local innovations in the face of increasing food insecurity in East Africa. The backing from USAID and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs adds significant weight to the efforts.

  4. How will the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge specifically address the impacts of climate change on the food system in Rwanda?

    1. The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge will address the impacts of climate change in Rwanda by supporting innovations that promote climate-resilient agricultural practices, sustainable food production, and adaptation strategies. By providing technical support and financing, the initiative aims to empower local entrepreneurs to develop solutions that enhance the resilience of the food system in the face of environmental challenges.

  5. How will the UN World Food Programme and Impact Hub Kigali ensure the sustainability of the innovations launched through this challenge?

    1. To ensure the sustainability of the innovations launched through this challenge, the UN World Food Programme and Impact Hub Kigali will provide ongoing mentorship, access to networks, and follow-up support to the entrepreneurs. This comprehensive approach aims to nurture the growth of these initiatives and help them make a lasting impact on Rwanda’s food system.

  6. It’s great to see initiatives like this IGNITE Food Systems Challenge that aim to address food insecurity and support local entrepreneurs. The collaboration between UN WFP, Impact Hub Kigali, USAID, and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows a strong commitment to making a positive impact in the region.

  7. How will the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge specifically tackle the food insecurity issues caused by climate change in Rwanda?

    1. The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge will address the food insecurity issues exacerbated by climate change in Rwanda by providing both technical support and financial resources to develop locally-driven solutions that promote resilience and sustainable agricultural practices. By supporting startups, cooperatives, and enterprises, the initiative aims to enhance food production and distribution, create economic opportunities, and mitigate the impact of environmental factors on the food system.

  8. It’s great to see initiatives like this one addressing the pressing issues in the food system in Rwanda. Providing both financial support and technical assistance to local entrepreneurs is crucial for sustainable development and resilience in the face of various challenges. Excited to witness the positive impact this program will have on the economy and food security in the region.

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