Transforming value chain challenges into scalable solutions in Darfur: UNDP and Nesta join hands for global innovation challenge

October 2, 2019

Livestock grazing in Idal Fursanl locality- South Darfur (PHOTO: UNDP/Sudan)

This September, a three-day workshop was organised by Nesta to support UNDP Sudan Livelihoods team on the design, operation and delivery of a successful innovation challenge prize. Cognizant of its global leading role as a social innovator in communities which nurtures start-up thinking of local actors and introduces new technologies to transform developmental challenges, UNDP Sudan has partnered with Nesta in 2019 to explore solutions from global innovators in overcoming obstacles affecting the production, quality and farmer profit margins in dairy and poultry value chains in Darfur and promote the efficiency of these selected value chains.

This partnership forms an integral part of UNDP Sudan’s innovative pilot “Darfur Chicken and Cheese Value Chain for Recovery and Peace Project (D2CRP)”, funded by UNDP Country Investment Facility (CIF). The facility supports UNDP country offices in initiatives that promote inclusive growth, business development and catalyse technology and modernization that may not have a short term or immediate benefit, but enable innovations related to achieving the SDGs.

In collaboration with Nesta, UNDP in Sudan is utilizing the Challenge Prize modality to attract creative solutions from both global and local innovators for accelerating the development of systems, processes and technologies that will improve efficiency and profitability of the two value chains in Darfur and ultimately improve the food security and livelihoods of conflict-affected populations.

For the pilot, two popular commodities – cheese and poultry value chain are targeted. Taking into consideration the nascent and often chaotic market system in which the two value chains exist, the pilot is engaging vital actors in the process of co-creation including producers, researchers, Government Ministries, private sector, transporters, processors and financial institutions in Sudan and particularly from Darfur region including in a value chain and market scoping survey conducted jointly with Nesta.

Survey in progress with local market actors to identify dairy value chain challenges in South Darfur. (PHOTO: UNDP/Sudan)

During the three-day Nesta led workshop, based on the findings of the survey, the group delved into design process, planning, stakeholder engagement, communication, assessment and shortlisting of entries, co-creation and final awards of the innovation challenge prizes.

The Head of International Development and Communities of Nesta Challenges, Constance Agyeman, addressing the final session of the workshop, expressed her gratitude to UNDP for choosing to partner with Nesta and reiterated Nesta’s commitment to support UNDP in delivering an impactful programme. She further urged participants not to view the challenge prize as an end in itself but more as a means to develop solutions that address the needs of the poultry and dairy value chains actors.

UNDP Sudan Livelihoods team and Nesta in co-creation during innovation challenge prize design workshop (PHOTO: UNDP/Sudan)

In his remarks, UNDP’s Darfur Livelihoods Programme (DLRP) Manager - John Anodam, highlighted that the knowledge and skills acquired in the workshop would not only be limited to improve the chicken and cheese value chains but would be applied further in developing other commodity value chain areas of UNDP’s work in Darfur.