United Nations Food Program to extend Blockchain tests to the African supply chain


The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) is expanding its blockchain tests from aid to refugees in the Middle East to supply chain management in Africa.

Following the well-publicized pilot of an ethereum system for money transfers in the Jordanian refugee camps – a project known as Building Blocks – he now intends to test the blockchain for monitoring food delivery in East Africa, Robert Opp, WFP's director of innovation and change, told CoinDesk.

In particular, the new project will monitor the movement of food from the port of Djibouti, where WFP receives shipments to Ethiopia, where many of its food operations are located.

Opp said that the pilot will try to answer the question:

"Can we increase efficiency by knowing in real time where food is, being able to demonstrate the origin of food at shipping points, to have this record of traceability?"

Separately, WFP also plans an initiative to educate Syrian refugee women in Jordan on the handling of their personal data and the control of third party access to it on a blockchain system.

"We want to know how easy it is for people to interact with a system like blockchain and understand," these are my data, I can check access ", he said. "We still have to understand how it will end."

This educational project will leverage the identity system that the organization built as part of Building Blocks, which was launched last year and now serves over 100,000 refugees. In that program, people scan irises to prove their identity, pay for shopping, and receive cash in supermarkets, and transactions are recorded on a private version of ethereum.

Digital literacy efforts will be targeted specifically at women who receive benefits in this way through the partnership recently announced by the WFP with the UN cash work program for women.

Opp did not give a timetable for the educational initiative or the Africa project.

Achievements so far

Speaking on a panel of the Blockchain Central event during the Concordia Summit in New York, Mart also discussed some of the results of the WFP Building Blocks project in Jordanian refugee camps.

"We are reaching 106,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan each month with cash benefits transfers and by implementing the blockchain system we have managed to save about $ 40,000 a month in transfer fees," Opp said on the panel.

Speaking with CoinDesk of the program, he said, at the moment, the WFP network includes four nodes and stores partial personal data on registered refugees.

"The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees keeps complete biometric data in a secure cloud solution, we just download some basic unique identification information, we do not put their complete information on blockchain. full name goes there, "explained Opp.

The project is running on a private version of the Parity ethereum client with an authority consent test algorithm (PoA), although Opp did not rule out the possibility of switching to a public network in the future, if speed problems of the transaction occur resolved.

However, according to him, the current WFP system has sufficient speed and could successfully deal with a 10-fold increase in volume.

Delivery image of WFP through the United States Department of Defense

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