Rome, 24 January 2024 – Late in 2023, Moonshots for Development (M4D), a partnership among the innovation labs of international financial institutions, together with CGIAR and the World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator, launched the AI for Climate Resilience in Rural Areas Open Innovation Challenge, a joint effort to scout and scale AI-driven technologies that empower rural communities and help them adapt to climate change and build their resilience.
The initiative, sponsored by the Asian Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, in partnership with CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP), IDB Lab, the innovation lab of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Technology and Innovation Lab of the World Bank Group, and the WFP Innovation Accelerator is a collective effort to identify and scale AI-driven technologies to empower rural communities and help them adapt to climate change and build their resilience.
The call focused on three main areas: (i) agriculture, (ii) natural resource management, and (iii) disaster risk reduction. In addition to finding solutions to climate challenges in rural areas, the competition aimed to encourage a responsible and ethical use of AI and to foster co-financing and collaboration among investors, innovators, development practitioners, and rural people to nurture long-term climate resilience.
Throughout the programme, 237 startups applied, and nine of them were selected to receive training and establish essential network connections to enhance the chances at scalability of their innovative projects. Teams participated in an Onboarding Training Bootcamp, encompassing training sessions in Behavioral Design and Lean Startup offered by IFAD, Human-centered design by WFP, Scaling up by CGIAR, and Ethical and Trustworthy AI by IDB Lab and the World Bank. Additionally, teams also benefitted from technical support from the sponsoring agencies.
The pitch event that took place on 24 January 2024 with a jury representing the sponsoring agencies marked the conclusion of the first stage for participating startups. Four of the nine semi- finalists were selected to move forward to receive financing, further training and mentoring:
• Agpreneur and Farmer Lifeline Technologies were awarded IFAD funding of USD50,000, with tailored-made coaching sessions on lean innovation and behavioural design. Furthermore, CGIAR will match these two teams with CGIAR scientists for further technical support and an opportunity to receive $10,000 in equity-free grant funding.
• Boomitra will be receiving USD50,000 from ADB for piloting their proposed solution as part of ADB’s operations in the member countries.
• Viamo will be sponsored by the WFP Innovation Accelerator for participating in its Sprint Programme, and was awarded IFAD funding of USD50,000, plus access to the same personalized coaching programme that IFAD will be offering to Agpreneur and Farmer Lifeline Technologies.
The World Bank will be offering AI technical support to winning teams, while from IDB Lab, the winning teams will receive continued mentoring and technical support on the ethical and responsible use of AI through the IDB's Group fAIrLAC initiative. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to promote the successful replication and scaling of these innovative solutions across Latin America and the Caribbean using IDB Lab's extensive network in the region.
For more information on this initiative, please visit: