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Innovation

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.

Related publications

Related publications

Tunisia: Detecting change with remote sensing

January 2021
This case study presents an analysis undertaken for the IFAD-funded Agropastoral Value Chains Project in the Governorate of Médenine, Tunisia.

IFAD Innovation Network

November 2020
The IFAD Innovation Network is an informal, democratic, non-hierarchical space for sharing ideas, good practices, tools and lessons learned about innovation at IFAD.

Innovation Catalogue

November 2020
The Innovation Catalogue showcases a set of 23 solutions to challenges faced by small-scale producers in East and Southern Africa.

Related events

Related events

Webinar: Fighting fires with rice paddies in Sierra Leone

May 2021 - EVENT
Farmers supported by the Smallholder Commercialization Programme have shifted from slash-and-burn cultivation to rice cultivation in inland swamps.

Digital agriculture and the rural poor: Challenges and opportunities in delivering results

May 2021 - EVENT
Join IFAD and Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD), featuring Nobel Laureate Professor Michael Kremer, in a dialogue about digital agriculture and the rural poor.

High level virtual dialogue - Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovation

April 2021 - EVENT
This high-level dialogue will identify ways to expand activities, financing and partnerships to further leverage technology and innovation for transformation of agriculture in Africa.

Related news

Related news

Second round of National Calls for Proposals (Kenya and Uganda): Supporting remittances in times of crisis in Africa

April 2021 - NEWS
The Financing Facility for Remittances of IFAD is pleased to announce the second round of National Calls for Proposals (Kenya, Uganda) 2021: supporting remittances in times of crisis in Africa.

El FIDA lanza la Segunda Edición del Premio a la Innovación Juvenil Rural en América Latina y el Caribe

March 2021 - NEWS
El objetivo del concurso es identificar y premiar iniciativas innovadoras impulsadas por jóvenes que contribuyan a superar los desafíos de la pandemia de COVID-19 en las áreas rurales de la región.

IFAD and GCF scale-up action to improve life for millions of people and restore ecosystems in Africa’s Great Green Wall

January 2021 - NEWS
A new investment programme is planned to support Sahelian governments through a partnership between the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and IFAD in order to boost climate finance for these rural populations.

Related stories

Related stories

Three ways we’re using digital technologies to fight rural poverty in the NEN region

December 2020 - STORY
Digital technologies have become our constant companions over the last few decades. Devices like smartphones and laptops have become even more relevant after the COVID-19 outbreak, helping us stay in touch even in times of physical distance.

Rural youth, innovation and tradition: the challenge of a new order

November 2020 - STORY
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the reinvention of the agricultural sector is indispensable today. In fact, it is already beginning to take place with young people at the heart of it.

Resilience in rural Syria: An entrepreneurial spirit conquers hardships

November 2020 - STORY
Determination and perseverance are what make an entrepreneur successful. That’s doubly true in a country like Syria, where ongoing conflict has disrupted people’s lives for the past decade.

Related blogs

Related blogs

Boosting food security in the Pacific with innovative technologies

April 2021 - BLOG
Who could have predicted that two innovative mobile applications, each the winner of a Pacific Agrihack Lab grant in late 2018, would go on to make a difference in the lives of Pacific Islanders during the pandemic?

Fighting fires with rice paddies in Sierra Leone

April 2021 - BLOG
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.

Tracking investments in Tunisia with remote sensing

February 2021 - BLOG
Many elements involved in IFAD-funded projects. As long as an element’s precise geographic coordinates are known, satellite imagery can be used to monitor any changes that have taken place.

Innovation contact

Contact information

innovation@ifad.org