A boost for food security as six ventures bag US$300,000 in WFP IHK’s IGNITE Food Systems Challenge in Rwanda
29 March 2022 - kigali

Kigali – A venture to turn food waste into fertilizer and animal feed is one of six start-ups to win up to US$50,000 through an innovation competition, aimed at transforming food systems, spearheaded by the IGNITE Innovation Hub of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and implemented by Impact Hub Kigali (IHK).

MagoFarm, CARL Group, Aflakiosk, Uruhimbi Kageyo Cooperative (UKC), Ironji LTD and Zone des Entreprises Agricole (ZEAN) LTD were the six winners who were selected based on their solutions’ potential impact on food systems, business viability, scalability, and team composition.

“On my 22nd birthday, I visited one of the largest food markets in my home country of Tanzania and I was shocked at the piles of food waste that were destined to end up in dumping sites,” says Moses Katala, the team leader of MagoFarm, “I later learnt that food waste is a huge problem, and we have to do something about it.”
Part of the winning package is a six-month tailored acceleration program where they will receive technical support and mentorship to enable them to scale up their hunger-related solutions.

The winners were announced at the Kigali Convention Centre where each of the finalists presented their innovative solutions at a pitch event to a live audience and a panel of judges. The judges’ panel included representatives from JASIRI, Water Access Rwanda, One Acre Fund, Mastercard Foundation, and WFP. “This initiative represents a unique opportunity for WFP to work with innovative new partners and leverage their multiple areas of expertise, collectively contributing towards improving Rwanda’s food system,” said Edith Heines, Representative and Country Director of WFP Rwanda.

The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge – which attracted over 280 applicants – was launched on 05 January 2022 in Rwanda to identify and promote locally-driven solutions to tackle food systems challenges. The 12 shortlisted ventures went through a bootcamp, personalized coaching support and due diligence ahead of a final pitch event. “This is a much-needed initiative in the local entrepreneurship ecosystem, which can amplify the impact of startups, SMEs and cooperatives to contribute to the transformation of the food system in Rwanda and in the region.

The winners of this Challenge will be able to co-design their own acceleration journey, indicating the technical support they require and will take a lead in creating communities of practice on the topic,” says Mafer Betancourt, Managing Director of Impact Hub Kigali. The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge is made possible through the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and a US$2 million grant from USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). The competition is running concurrently in South Sudan and will launch in Uganda later in 2022.

About the Implementing Partners

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.

WFP’s IGNITE Innovation Hub for Eastern Africa was launched in December 2020, with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, to leverage WFP’s brand, public and private partners, deep field access, and expertise to develop, nurture and scale sustainable innovations for increased food security in the region.

Impact Hub Kigali (IHK) is a community-based innovation hub in Kigali, Rwanda, offering a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities to grow positive impact. IHK offers a range of innovation and entrepreneurship support initiatives, including incubation programmes, bootcamps and challenges. IHK also supports the ecosystem through knowledge sharing platforms and mapping exercises. IHK is part of a large social innovation network in the world with +100 open hubs in over 50 countries.

Follow us on Twitter: @WFP_Africa @EdithHeinesWFP @ImpactHubKigali

For more information please contact:
Annet Mutesi, WFP/ Kigali, Mob: +250 788 763 077
Alessandro Abbonizio, WFP/ Nairobi, Mob: +254 723 001 639
Sandra Akariza, Impact Hub Kigali, Mob: +250 786 153 695