USAID’s Food Security Open Data Challenge

USAID’s Food Security Open Data Challenge


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USAID recently launched a Food Security Open Data Challenge, which is part of the U.S. Government's broader commitment to food security, transparency, and innovation. The goal of the Food Security Open Data Challenge is to bring together food security stakeholders, data technologists, and other development enthusiasts to build new and innovative solutions for food security.

The ideas behind the Challenge are:

  • To develop new applications that use and build robust data as relevant to food security
  • To build a list of parameters of open data and food security data standards that would be useful in informing a G8 country effort on global data standards for food security
  • To demonstrate internally and externally the benefits of engaging data technologist and social innovators and entrepreneurs in U.S. development work.

USAID, stakeholders, partners, and volunteers are convening the wealth of publicly available food security data to determine current gaps in information, offer approaches on how analyzing existing data can fill these gaps, and define questions for the challenge that will serve as a call for programs, product, and processes that can more effectively acquire and disseminate information to ensure food security.

The Challenge builds on a number of Administration priorities, among them Feed the Future, which is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, and also builds on the recent G8 announcement of a "New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition."

The Food Security Open Data Challenge has three core events:

Three Ideation Jams are held in June and July, convening technologists and other agriculture stakeholders. The purpose and method of the Ideation Jam is to bring together a varied group of stakeholders and experts from diverse backgrounds that through discussion will identify a number of questions around food security and data. After the first Jam, which took place in June, questions were divided into five “tracks,” ranging from questions on mobile apps for farmer feedback, how to increase the information exchange between farmers and multi-nationals, to Global data standards and platforms for food security. On Tuesday July 17th, the U.S. Government will have the third Ideation Jam. 

A Codeathon will take place August 10 – 12, where participants will create new or join existing teams to finalize solutions for an expert panel of judges. The Codeathon builds off of the problem sets that were identified in the Ideation Jams, and invites existing participants to build out their innovations with new participants and with available mentors and experts to create market-sustainable and scalable solutions.

During Datapalooza in September 2012 USAID Administrator Raj Shah will announce challenge winners and show case some of the best ideas for data-based solutions to food security.

If you are interested in joining the Codeathon or get more information please contact Kat Townsend at USAID.

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At a Glance

Agriculture, Food Security, Policy