Digitizing and Scaling Food Security: COVID-19

INTRODUCTION

Social enterprises around the world have been rapidly responding and creating new solutions to the healthcare, food security, education, and economic challenges created by COVID-19.  This response, alongside the heroism of essential workers, has given us great confidence in our collective capacity to propel humanity into a more just and equitable future.  

One of the ways Impact Amplifier is participating in this wave of new innovations is through our ag-tech social venture, GreenFingers Mobile (GFM).  It has recently re-purposed it’s mobile-first technology, to support funders and non-profits trying to manage the hunger crisis emerging in South African and on the rest of the continent.  

GFM is offering its software for FREE to both funders, non-profits and community activists who are interested in digitally managing and funding food parcels to those in need.  At present, and within 10 days of making the software available, GFM has begun working with four non-profits in Gauteng, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, and is in the process of digitally loading 12,000 households, and supporting the feeding of 40,000 people on the system. 

Additionally, GFM and Impact Amplifier will soon be launching an innovative mechanism, to improve the efficiency and transparency of funding food parcels and vouchers. 

THE CHALLENGE GFM SEEKS TO ADDRESS

As organisations are ramping up their support to millions of poor, food-insecure households throughout South Africa (and the rest of the continent), affected by COVID-19, they are confronting a range of challenges:

  • Large Food security gaps – Organisations are manually, and independently, managing the food demand (both food parcels and vouchers) with no clear understanding of the food security needs. This results in both over, and under supply, and poor management of matching food supply to demand. Therefore mapping and addressing food insecurity at a community level is impossible.
  • Lack of funding at scale – There is a clear lack of consistent funding for organisations serving communities across South Africa. These organisations also lack the ability to provide transparent data to donors regarding who has been served and the aggregate needs of the communities they are serving.
  • Lack of management capacity – Many of the organisations are leaning on a large volunteer network, who will eventually be returning to work. These volunteers need to be replaced with more efficient systems and data collection to professionalize their service.

THE GFM SOLUTION/REPURPOSING 

GFM can address some of these challenges by allowing funders, non-profits and community activists to:

  • Digitize their beneficiaries
    • Create a digital ID of each household, their beneficiaries, and capture additional socio-economic data.
    • Create date, time, and GPS stamped zero-rated transactions (food parcels and food vouchers) over a longitudinal period attached to each digital profile.
    • Measure actual food security or insecurity using the data.
  • Unlock new, innovative funding mechanisms with the data
    • This innovative approach to funding allows funders to finance the validated ‘food parcel’ data as and when it is delivered to households in real-time.
    • Initial pilots will occur over the next 14 days, giving funders transparency and proof that their money is finding its way to beneficiaries directly.
  • Integrate third-party digital solutions
    • Payment remittance, group savings, and lending products are all possible for non-profits/activists on the system with third-party integration.
    • A closed digital network of non-profit/activists field workers using the GFM system, who can collaborate online together for best practice.

Click here to join a 1-hour webinar this Tuesday 12th April at 10 am where the GFM team will demo the solution and answer questions.

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