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 new process, product or approach that adds value and delivers a sustainable, equitable, inclusive and/or new contextual solution to rural development challenges.

For IFAD, the most important innovations are those that impact poor rural people directly. IFAD aims to catalyse the generation, testing and scaling up of solutions that have the potential to contribute to deliver equitable, better and greater impact for the rural poor by leveraging on learning, strategic partnerships, digitalization and the implementation of suitable tools and guidelines.

Related publications

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Handbook for Scaling Irrigation Systems

October 2022

Handbook for Scaling Irrigation Systems is a joint publication between IFAD and IFC on how to develop and scale innovative solutions to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and increase crop productivity.

GeoTech4Tenure: Technical guide on combining geospatial technology and participatory methods for securing tenure rights

August 2022

This technical guide provides orientation for project designers and implementers on how to combine participatory methods and geomatics technology to strengthen legitimate tenure rights in land-based investments.

Mapping Rural Development: How to use GIS to monitor and evaluate projects

July 2022

This practical manual provides guidance on how to use geographic information systems (GIS) in the monitoring and evaluation of rural development projects.

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Bond investments for sustainable development

May 2024 - EVENT

Join us for an in-depth exploration of the transformative role of sustainable finance in addressing global climate challenges and social upheavals

Digital Public Infrastructures for Better Climate Action and Food Security

May 2024 - EVENT

This talk will explore the roles Governments and the private sector play in deploying DPI to advance agricultural practices.

Moonshots for Development: Open Innovation Challenge Winners

May 2024 - EVENT

This event will showcase the finalists from the Joint Moonshots for Development Open Innovation Challenge on AI for Climate Resilience in Rural Areas.

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Innovation for Sustainability: Global leaders harness the power of innovation

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Global leaders from the public and private sectors and civil society will gather in Rome to discuss innovation for sustainability and explore innovative processes, products, approaches, and co-financing solutions towards sustainability. The Summit will feature presentations, roundtables, and workshops that focus on the Climate, Health, and Nutrition Nexus.

12 startups de Latinoamérica y el Caribe lideran el cierre de la brecha digital en zonas rurales

August 2023 - NEWS

Innovatech, el novedoso proyecto financiado por el FIDA e implementado por la entidad financiera alemana Sparkassenstiftung, está sentando un precedente en Latinoamérica, al lograr una exitosa vinculación entre startups tecnológicas –empresas fintech y agtech–, y el sector rural en seis países de Latinoamérica y el Caribe.

Spatial technology creates opportunities for vulnerable small-scale food producers as IFAD and ESA join forces

June 2023 - NEWS

IFAD and the European Space Agency have stepped up their partnership to help vulnerable small-scale food producers increase their ability to grow food and adapt to climate change by using state-of-the-art spatial technology and data.

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Meet the young rural people bringing back bees

May 2024 - STORY

From Tanzania to Tajikistan, rural youth are combining tradition with modern techniques to build sustainable livelihoods on an ancient delicacy: honey. 

7 innovations transforming rural lives

May 2024 - STORY

Small-scale farmers rely on new ideas, techniques and technologies to prosper in our rapidly changing world. Let’s explore seven innovations driving sustainable, inclusive rural development today.

Meet the women closing the digital divide in rural China

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Investing in women's digital empowerment can foster prosperity not just for them, but for entire communities. These three remarkable rural women revitalizing their villages in rural China are living proof of this.

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With new geospatial tools, mapping environmental impact is as easy as ABC

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4 ways IFAD is using AI to transform rural development

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Artificial Intelligence is not just a buzzword for IFAD – it is a powerful new technology that delivers better development results and increases impact.

When it comes to measuring water security, lived experiences matter

January 2024 - BLOG

Water stress is growing around the world. To effectively tackle it, a new approach assesses not only whether water infrastructure is available and working, but also whether it is meeting the needs of the people who rely on it. 


Innovation contact

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