Mercy Corps’ AgriFin Program, in Partnership with NASA, Makes Top 100 Proposals for MacArthur $100M Grant

Feb 20, 2020 | All, Data & Tech Acceleration, Farmer Capability & Smart Farming

The high-scoring 100&Change application would tackle climate change and support 25 million small-scale farmers. Visit Mercy Corps’ solution on the Bold Solutions Network and view our fact sheet here.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced on February 19, 2020 that the global organization Mercy Corps is one of the highest-scoring proposals, designated as the Top 100, in its second 100&Change competition for a single $100 million grant to help solve one of the world’s most critical social challenges.

Mercy Corps’ 100&Change proposal, submitted in partnership with NASA and with support from Digital Green, aims to transform small-scale farming in the face of climate change. The proposal leverages Mercy Corps’ innovative AgriFin program and integrates NASA’s earth observation technology to provide satellite-to-soil insights that will help farmers build resilience in the face of climate shocks. 

AgriFin works with a global network of partners to design, test and scale high-impact digital solutions for more than 4 million smallholder farmers, particularly women and young people. The AgriFin model leverages the power of digital innovation to link farmers to products and services they need –  from better seeds to banking – boosting harvests and incomes. 

Through this proposed program, Mercy Corps would work with NASA as a climate-smart data transformation partner. NASA will leverage its science and technology networks, Earth observation data, modelling and analysis capacities to support the development of products and services identified by AgriFin that maximize climate adaptation and efficient solutions for farmers and the organizations serving them. Satellites can be used as a management tool through the practice of precision agriculture, allowing for more intensive and efficient cultivation practices.

“As population growth and climate change collide, farmers worldwide are struggling,” says Beth deHamel, Chief Executive Officer of Mercy Corps. “Farmers can’t change the weather, but they can change how they prepare for and respond to it. With support from the MacArthur Foundation, we could mobilize 25 million small-scale farmers to transform the way they feed the world.”

Together with NASA and Digital Green, Mercy Corps’ 100&Change proposal would impact 25 million farmers across six countries in Africa and Asia. The top-scoring proposal is now featured in the MacArthur Foundation’s Bold Solutions Network, a searchable online collection of the most effective, enduring solutions poised to meet the world’s most critical social challenges. 

More About 100&Change

100&Change is a distinctive competition that is open to organizations and collaborations working in any field, anywhere in the world. Proposals must identify a problem and offer a solution that promises significant and durable change.

The Top 100 proposals represent the top 21 percent of competition submissions. The proposals were rigorously vetted, undergoing MacArthur’s initial administrative review, a Peer-to-Peer review, an evaluation by an external panel of judges, and a technical review by specialists whose expertise was matched to the project. 

Each proposal was evaluated using four criteria: impactful, evidence-based, feasible, and durable. MacArthur’s Board of Directors will select up to 10 finalists from these high-scoring proposals this spring. 

“MacArthur seeks to generate increased recognition, exposure, and support for the high-impact ideas designated as the Top 100,” says Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change and MacArthur Managing Director, 100&Change. “Based on our experience in the first round of 100&Change, we know the competition will produce multiple compelling and fundable ideas. We are committed to matching philanthropists with powerful solutions and problem solvers to accelerate social change.”