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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.

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.

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.

Related events

Related events

Behavioural approaches for development and climate programmes

June 2021 - EVENT
Optimizing results and enhancing the nexus among gender equality, climate resilience and nutrition.

Behavioural approaches in measuring and delivering impact: What are we learning?

March 2021 - EVENT
While we may have clear intentions, our decisions are not always a reflection of the goals we wish to achieve.

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.

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.

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.

Related stories

Related stories

How innovation is helping tea growers in Sri Lanka

May 2021 - STORY
Sri Lanka has been a global supplier of tea since the plant was first imported to the island about a hundred and fifty years ago. Since then, tea estates have often been passed down from generation to generation, weathering good times and bad.

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.

Related blogs

Related blogs

Fighting fires with rice paddies in Sierra Leone

April 2021 - BLOG
Los agricultores de Sierra Leona han reemplazado los cultivos de corta y quema por el cultivo del arroz en los pantanos interiores, lo que ha reducido la cantidad de incendios forestales, como demuestra un estudio basado en el sistema de información geográfica (SIG).

Greening the Sahara: the Great Green Wall Initiative

January 2021 - BLOG
In 2009, I travelled by road to Timbuktu, Mali on a short field trip. As we made our way down the dusty roads, I remember wondering what could possibly pull this arid, sparsely populated land into relative prosperity.

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