Water & Energy for Food (WE4F): A Grand Challenge for Development  

WE4F is a joint international initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Announced at World Water Week 2018 and launched at Social Capital Markets 2019 signature event in San Francisco, CaliforniaWE4F aims to: 

  • Increase food production along the value chain through a more sustainable and efficient usage of water and/or energy. 
  • Increase income for base of the pyramid women and men in both rural and urban areas.  
  • Sustainably scale innovators’ solutions to meet the challenges in the WE4F nexus. 
  • Promote climate and environmental resilience and biodiversity through the sustainable, holistic management of natural resources and ecosystems. 

 

How WE4F Works

The WE4F program capitalizes on the learnings from Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) and Securing Water for Food (SWFF) Grand Challenge. The program is focused on environmentally sustainable innovations aiming to improve energy and water efficiency in the agricultural sector. 

The WE4F initiative will work with promising innovations that were identified and nurtured during the PAEGC and SWFF to support their next level of scaling. At the same time, the program will open up new calls for innovations within the water-agriculture-food nexus. WE4F will incorporate the Regional Innovation Hub (RIH) model used in PAEGC and the Technical Assistance Facility developed under SWFF.  By combining these two successful key programmatic elements together, WE4F’s decentralized approach will put a stronger focus on improving local framework conditions for innovations and facilitating end-user financing. 

Steering Committee

WE4F is a joint international initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Pia Lindström

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sweden

Pia Lindström is the Programme Specialist at the Unit for Global Cooperation on Environment at Sida, primarily working with challenge funds within the fields of environment and climate change including resilience.

She holds a M.Sc. degree in International Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics and a B.Sc. in Political Science from Stockholm University. She has previously worked with the EU Commission/EuropeAid on corporate social responsibility issues and has for six years been based in the field in Bhutan and India working for the UNDP as well as managing local NGOs focusing on climate smart agriculture, sustainable waste management, appropriate technologies including sustainable energy and water projects, and youth social entrepreneurship programs.

Dr. Ku McMahan

US Agency for International Development, United States

Dr. Ku McMahan serves as Team Lead for Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development in the US Global Development Lab at USAID. SWFF is a $35M partnership between USAID, South Africa, Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

He received his Ph.D. in environmental sciences and an M.P.H. in environmental health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under NSF and EPA STAR Fellowships. He received a B.A. in environmental sciences and policy. In addition, he developed a simple, low-cost water quality test for developing countries and emergency situations. Ku was recently a program executive officer for the USAID WA-WASH program in GLOWS and assistant professor of research at Florida International University.

Omer van Renterghem

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands

Omer is working in the Inclusive Green Growth Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on water management. He is responsible for a number of programs, amongst these Securing Water for Food, the Valuing Water Initiative, and a strategic partnership on sustainable landscape management with WWF and IUCN. He also supports development of Netherlands water programs in Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Before joining the water cluster his focus was on environmental aspects of the broader sustainability agenda: green growth, natural capital accounting, and circular economy. He initiated the Initiative for Sustainable Landscapes (ISLA), focusing on the business case for integrated landscape management, and he was leading a project team on landscape approach. In addition, until recently, he was involved in the international Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

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