WFP and MIT's Poverty Action Lab join forces to develop innovative solutions to food security, nutrition, and resilience challenges

A farmer tends an arid field in Senegal.

DAKAR – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop innovative solutions that help build a more resilient and food secure future for vulnerable communities worldwide.

This landmark collaboration brings together the expertise and resources of two leading institutions to address the complex food security, nutrition and resilience challenges faced by millions of people, and will inform and guide the work of the WFP.

“By joining forces with J-PAL and MIT, we are harnessing the power of innovation and knowledge to tackle the pressing challenges of resilience systems and food security. This partnership marks a transformative step towards a more resilient and food-secure future for vulnerable communities. We extend our sincere appreciation for their commitment to the cause of Zero Hunger,” said Margot van der Velden, WFP’s Deputy Regional Director for Western Africa.

“We are thrilled for this opportunity to partner with WFP, drawing on its deep programmatic expertise, to generate and apply actionable insights to improve the effectiveness of climate change and humanitarian interventions. Growing this evidence base and applying it to inform the design of policies and programmes has enormous potential to improve the livelihoods of populations affected by crises around the world,”  said John Floretta, J-PAL’s Global Deputy Executive Director.

Under the agreement, WFP and J-PAL will team up to leverage cutting-edge technologies and conduct research to strengthen resilience systems and improve food security in the face of the climate crisis and other humanitarian crises. By combining WFP's extensive field experience and the research expertise of J-PAL, this collaboration will support rigorous evaluation and evidence-informed decision-making to advance sustainable solutions that have a lasting impact on the lives of millions.

The two organizations will aim to conduct joint research to better understand the impact of food and livelihood assistance programmes through randomized evaluations. This includes topics such as evaluating the impact of resilience-building initiatives such as land rehabilitation, analysing different modalities of providing cash assistance, and examining how school feeding programmes affect nutrition and school attendance. The cooperation will also explore opportunities to analyse new and existing data, create linkages between research networks and conduct joint training on humanitarian, development, and climate change research.