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Gates Foundation: The Story of Food

If you were tasked with ending hunger by 2030, what would you do? For starters, you'd probably come up with as many solutions as possible — as fast as possible.

That's exactly what the World Food Programme (WFP) is doing. And they're asking for all the help they can get.

When it comes to feeding the 795 million people living in hunger every day, time is of the essence. Solutions are needed — fast. And the best way to come up with out-of-the-box solutions? Out-of-the-box ideation.


That's where the Innovation Accelerator comes in.

All images via the Innovation Accelerator, used with permission.

Established in 2015 in Munich, Germany, the program has a simple mission: "Finding the bright minds, getting them together with the right partners, and actually making ideas happen," explains Bernhard Kowatsch, head of the Innovation Accelerator. "With doing all of that, we can make zero hunger a reality by 2030."

They fast-track ideas by providing intensive training, funding, and even coaching from the industry's best and brightest. Think of them as a startup incubator, only their main goal is addressing global hunger.

Here are the 15 game-changing projects that the Innovation Accelerator is working on right now:

1. ShareTheMeal lets you donate meals to kids in need for just $0.50.

To date, they've delivered over 11 million meals (and counting) to kids in Malawi, Lebanon, Syria, and other places.

2. Locals are being taught how to use hydroponics to grow crops in the slums of Peru.

Hydroponics uses nutrient solutions to grow produce without soil. The best part? The families are teaching other families the technique on their own.

3. Nutrifami makes healthy eating fun for Colombians.

Nutrifami engages food-insecure families with fun online games and activities focused on smart purchasing and building healthier habits day by day.

4. MAPS tracks the nutritional progress of people in El Salvador.

The Monitoring App for Social Programmes (MAPS in its Spanish acronym) gives officials real-time access to data so they can reduce malnutrition more quickly in vulnerable communities.

5. The Food Computer is creating recipes out of climate in Jordan.

The Food Computer can control climate variables like humidity and carbon dioxide inside a special growing chamber, allowing researchers to test any location's conditions and let farmers know what crops will grow best.

6. The WFP is using satellites to monitor their revamped food infrastructure in South Sudan.

Image via iStock.

To monitor the progress of building new water resources and repairing roads, the WFP is using satellite imagery so they have a trusty eye in the sky.

7. Transformers is transforming food waste into school food in Kenya.

They're taking surplus food headed for the landfill and turning it into hot, balanced meals for schoolchildren.

8. Farmers in Africa are being taught how to care for their bounty better.

The Zero Post-Harvest Losses initiative teaches farmers modern harvesting techniques and provides them with airtight storage silos to prevent crop loss.

9. The smartphone app AgriUp is giving Guatemalan farmers the knowledge they need to be successful.

AgriUp provides farmers with tools such as weather reports, farming advice, and nutrition tips so they can improve their food security, as well as the local economy.

10. Building Blocks is changing how aid is delivered in Pakistan.

Building Blocks is taking out the middle man and creating a cheaper, quicker, and more direct money transfer, perfect for delivering aid faster and safer.

11. Real-time data is preventing stunted growth in infants.

Adaptive Programming uses real-time data on the health of citizens in order to come up with more accurate care and to help prevent conditions such as infant stunting.

12. The Virtual Farmers Market (VFM) in Zambia is connecting farmers and buyers like never before.

Using the same approach that has made apps like Airbnb and Lyft so successful, VFM is an online marketplace that lets farmers expand their reach, improve profits, and boost the local economy.

13. These Syrian refugees are learning digital skills and creating food security in the process.

Tech for Food teaches refugees digital skills such as photo editing so they can work from anywhere in the world, improving their livelihood and putting food on the table.

14. Smart Meals is changing how school food is delivered in Burundi.

School food kept running out way before the next delivery, so the Smart Meals project revamped the entire inventory system to make it more user-friendly and to ensure food gets delivered on time, every single school day.

15. The power of storytelling is opening people's eyes.

Through firsthand stories, the WFP's ZeroHunger Stories project is creating a more personal connection to their causes and getting people to better understand the importance of taking action immediately.

We need to work concisely, quickly, and as one if we're going address this global issue sooner rather than later.

Yes, it's an uphill climb, but let's not forget, the end goal of zero hunger by 2030 is right within our sight. "If we broaden the network of people that care about hunger and are willing to support it," adds Kowatsch, "it's even easier and more realistic that we will make that happen."

In fact, if you have your own idea for addressing world hunger, submit it to the Innovation Accelerator by March 14 to help make their vision a reality.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

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More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via YouTube

This article originally appeared on 02.15.22


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