Digital technologies and data-driven approaches have enormous potential to transform global development. During Global Innovation Week, Chemonics joins USAID in celebrating these approaches to development challenges and announcing our commitment to innovation.
Chemonics President and CEO Susanna Mudge joined leaders in the global development community to share some of Chemonics’ efforts to advance its innovation agenda, from innovation summits to strategic partnerships and solutions labs that design and test technical solutions. By fostering new approaches from its global workforce and drawing on vast networks and expertise to drive innovation, Chemonics is developing better and more effective solutions to complex development challenges.
On September 28, Ms. Mudge announced Chemonics’ continued commitment to innovation, which includes identifying and funding opportunities to scale up successful ideas and solutions. Chemonics also pledged for 2018 to scale up its efforts by convening its global workforce and development partners through summits that catalyze innovation into action. By further investing in solutions labs, Chemonics also committed to exploring and testing ideas that make development smart and sustainable.
“As we say at Chemonics, development is more than a passion or calling. It’s a profession,” said Ms. Mudge. “That is why we have set forth an ambitious agenda to strengthen our ability to provide innovative technical solutions that address the complex development challenges facing us all. I am excited to have shared at USAID’s Global Innovation Week some of the efforts and plans to advance our innovation agenda.”
During Global Innovation Week, Chemonics also joined USAID’s Global Development Lab in congratulating Digital Development Award recipients. Through the Digital Development Award (the Digis), USAID recognizes projects that embrace cutting-edge technologies and novel approaches that accelerate development impact. On September 28, two Chemonics-implemented projects received Digi Awards — the Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience Project (B+WISER) and the Feed the Future Uganda Commodity Production and Marketing Activity (CPM).
In Uganda, CPM supports Akorion — an information and communications technology for agriculture startup — to increase access to financial services for smallholder farmers. Without access to formal financial services or transparent market information, smallholder farmers in Uganda struggle to obtain high-quality inputs and agricultural financing. But Akorion’s mobile-based platform collects and aggregates information on farmers’ location, soil, agricultural activities, sales, and payments. With this digital footprint, farmers can prove their “bank-ability.” Chemonics joins USAID in celebrating Akorion’s technology-driven, market-based approach to helping farmers access financial services.
In the Philippines, the B+WISER project teamed with the country’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to develop the Lawin Forest and Biodiversity Protection System. Lawin revolutionizes how the Philippines prevents forest destruction and enables DENR to devise conservation targets. It combines mobile data collection and geospatial analysis to improve decision-making at local and national levels. Now, more than two million hectares in all 17 regions are under improved management. The Digi Award to B+WISER recognizes this data-driven, scalable approach to conservation.
“The digital revolution is changing how the global development community addresses major challenges, from financial inclusion to natural resource management,” said Ms. Mudge. “Chemonics is committed to making innovation an integral part of everything we do so we can develop scalable and meaningful solutions for those who matter most — our beneficiaries.”