Globalization, climate change, environmental degradation, migrations, the spread of communicable diseases and conflict are just some examples of evolving challenges and opportunities confronting rural poor women and men. Development practitioners constantly face new challenges and many good practices may quickly become obsolete. Making a positive and lasting impact on rural poverty requires the capacity both to implement tried and tested practices and to respond to new challenges and opportunities as they emerge. In other words, it requires the ability to innovate.
The complexity and diversity of rural poverty call for new, better solutions. Despite global progress towards the SDGs, many countries and regions are lagging behind, and social and economic inequalities are growing almost everywhere. This situation calls for new approaches to eradicating rural poverty and a better understanding of its challenges as seen by the rural poor.
Achieving one’s goals better
IFAD defines innovation as a process that adds value or solves a problem in new ways. If possible, the product, idea or approach should also be new to its context, useful and cost-effective in relation to a goal, and able to “stick” after pilot testing.
Innovation can take many forms and be used in many ways across IFAD and its projects. Innovative solutions can provide both small-scale incremental improvements and large-scale transformations. Innovation is not necessarily related to technology, nor does it have to be something entirely new or developed by IFAD alone.
For IFAD, the most important innovations are those that impact rural poor people directly: changes to the way smallholders and other rural poor people invest, produce and market their products; manage their assets; get organized, communicate and interact with their partners; and influence policies and institutions.
In 2019, IFAD ran an innovation challenge as a global competition so colleagues across country offices could participate. Find out more about the winning proposals.
Tunisia: Detecting change with remote sensing
IFAD Innovation Network
The IFAD Innovation Network is an informal, democratic, non-hierarchical space for sharing ideas, good practices, tools and lessons learned about innovation at IFAD.
Webinar: Fighting fires with rice paddies in Sierra Leone
High level virtual dialogue - Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovation
Lessons from designing and implementing innovation challenges: How to mitigate risks and what’s next?
El FIDA lanza la Segunda Edición del Premio a la Innovación Juvenil Rural en América Latina y el Caribe
IFAD and GCF scale-up action to improve life for millions of people and restore ecosystems in Africa’s Great Green Wall
National Calls for Proposals (The Gambia, Ghana, Senegal): Supporting remittances in times of crisis in Africa
The Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR) of IFAD is pleased to announce the 2020 National Calls for Proposals: Supporting Remittances in Times of Crisis in Africa.
Three ways we’re using digital technologies to fight rural poverty in the NEN region
Rural youth, innovation and tradition: the challenge of a new order
Resilience in rural Syria: An entrepreneurial spirit conquers hardships
Fighting fires with rice paddies in Sierra Leone
Farmers in Sierra Leone have shifted from slash-and-burn cultivation to rice cultivation in inland swamps. That is reducing the number of forest fires, a GIS study has shown.