“In early 2017, The World Food Project took the first steps of harnessing a bold technology that can transform the fight against hunger. Blockchain technology, most famously associated with the crypto-currency Bitcoin, offers unique opportunities for humanitarians to enhance our ability to provide effective, efficient assistance to the people we serve – and save millions of dollars.”
The United Nations is seeking to account for the logistics of providing aid through a better medium. They may be known as the biggest development and aid giving agency but they are seeking ways to shed their fat and become lean and agile.
They are slowly shifting from their current method of providing transfers to another form called cash based transfers or CBT. This allows for lesser costs and increased implementation speeds.
Their Building Blocks program is slowly ramping up as they learn about what blockchain and bitcoin can do for them and their recipients, they state
“By storing data in blocks which are immutable and secure, and with multiple actors holding copies, the risk of fraud, theft or manipulation is reduced to near zero. Furthermore, its peer-to-peer nature removes the need for third party verification from costly intermediaries such as banks or other institutions.
Through cost savings, the traceability of information flows, and by reducing transaction times, WFP can deliver more effective, efficient interventions.”
As a part of their desire to solve problems better they are integrating the power of the blockchain into providing for refugees. They are specifically hoping to do this by seeking to integrating the Ethereum blockchain. This would help to decrease cots and conduct operations in a more efficient and effective manner.
The WFP or the World Food Programme has actually been implementing and effecting change with their utilization of the technology because they know that they don’t have time to waste. They have to meet present and future problems as rapidly as possible, or fall behind.
The WFP states that it has sent over $1.4 million in food vouchers to 10,500 Syrian refugees in Jordan and it plans on increasing the number of people reached. They are seeking to raise the number reached to 1 milllion people per day.
They have utilized the Ethereum blockchain with the idea of growth in mind. They are using a Parity augmented ethereum fork to make sure that privacy of their transactions stay intact. This also means that there is no need for the validation of these transactions minimizing potential hurdles presented by volume.
The director of the program, Houman Haddad, is driving the program forward, intending for there to be further and further use of the technology to make significant impacts. He’s looking at a future where the refugees are able to control their own cryptographic keys to access their funds (or “entitlements”. This would help expand aid to those who need it most without the excessive current costs involved in being able to help people in need across borders. Being able to unlock more data allows for more transparency across the board, from understanding what the recipients need (their health records, their incomes, locations, histories, etc) to being able to provide for them in time.
The World Food Programme operates the blockchain in house, they may be interested in working with further parties in the future for larger impact.
Haddad hopes to work with many others like Disberse who ” enable donors, governments and NGO’s to transfer and trace funds through the whole chain, from donor to beneficiary, through intermediaries”.
Haddad is finding initial resistance in ramping up his Building Blocks program because this would mean many NGO’s and others would have to change operations to integrate the blockchain, which may change up personnel and day to activities of the firm.
It is important to pay attention to the various applications because this provides insight into the inherent value of the blockchains, the resulting coins and the many applications that are built on top of them,
Many simply aren’t ready to embrace the future, but time can’t be stopped.