IFAD Innovation Challenge

Innovation for IFAD means finding creative ways to deliver better results quicker, either by using new approaches or by applying existing techniques to new situations.

In 2019, IFAD ran an innovation challenge as a global competition so all colleagues across country offices could participate. IFAD funded ten winning proposals and this page tells their stories.

IFAD Innovators

The first group of IFAD Innovators finished their projects in 2020. They tested new ways of doing things, including through ideas like machine learning, remote sensing, virtual reality and even board games. IFAD is now assessing results and looking to scale up successes.

2019 Winning Projects


GeoScan: Spatial Country Profile. Timely and accurate geospatial data for evidence based country strategy planning, project design, monitoring and evaluation. Learn more...


Farmed: A game to engage project communities with IFAD’s mainstreaming themes. Learn more...


Integrating local communities’ lands in Operations: Accurate, detailed mapping of indigenous peoples’ lands. Learn more...


Connecting Lives & Fields Room: A Virtual Reality Experience. Learn more...


Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Big Data for IFAD 2.0.: Accelerating knowledge generation for data-driven decision making. Learn more...


Digitalization of business plans within IFAD projects: A digital platform to centralize business plans by country and allow IFAD, implementers and others to easily analyse investments across projects Learn more...


GeoM&E: Systematically Integrating GIS and Earth Observation Innovations in IFAD Operations and Corporate M&E Systems. Learn more...

Projects funded for research


Crowdfunding 2030: A Joint Effort for the SDGs. Learn more...


Pathfinder: Researching the use of stable cryptocurrencies for cross-border payments in IFAD-financed projects. Learn more...

About the IFAD Innovation Challenge

The IFAD Innovation Challenge aimed to promote and incubate ideas that bring innovations to IFAD’s operations and business practices.
It targeted ideas that: 

Leveraged partnerships

Effective partnerships provide access to new resources and enable rapid sharing of best practices and lessons learned.

Eliminated bureaucracy

Systems, processes and structures that support experimentation are critical in innovative organizations.

Enhanced connectivity

Interactions between diverse groups across locations are essential for results, especially in global organizations.

Integrated data analytics 

Innovative organizations use data analytics in their programmes and business practices.

Over 50 proposals were submitted. A cross-functional panel assessed each submitted idea and all IFAD colleagues had the opportunity to vote. Winners were announced in August 2019 and worked hard to finish implementation by end of January 2020. 

"The IFAD Innovation challenge opens up the opportunity to reflect on our broader goals and generate ideas that can bring innovation to our operations and business practices."

Gilbert F. Houngbo

President, IFAD

Lessons learned from IFAD’s 2019-2020 Innovation Challenge


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