Meet the shortlisted candidates of the RAIN Challenge for Non-profits 

Eight seed-level initiatives have been selected and over the next six months will work in collaboration with GRP to receive tailored mentoring and leadership training. The RAIN Challenge for non-profits is a joint effort between GRP and the Munich-Re Foundation.

Together with Munich Re Foundation, we launched the Resilient Agriculture Innovations for Nature (RAIN) Challenge for non-profit organisations in May 2023. The RAIN Challenge for non-profits aims to nurture innovative agricultural ideas in East Africa that work to change the risk perceptions of investing in agriculture. The challenge aligns potential funders to non-profit organisations and drives attention to the urgent need for locally-led agricultural systems transformation. Eight seed-level initiatives were chosen through a rigorous selection process and over the next six months will work in collaboration with GRP. 

Each of the shortlisted projects leverages the creativity of their respective communities and has innovative approaches to meet their specific needs. The RAIN Challenge will provide tailored mentoring, monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL), communications, and leadership support and training for the projects. They will also be connected to potential investors and partners from across GRP’s network.

Meet the shortlisted candidates! 

Project:  Preparation of Nano-Fertilizer based on agricultural and industrial waste
Organisation: Bio and Emerging Technology Institute Ethiopia
Country: Ethiopia

After wastewater treatment, a huge amount of sludge more than 30,000 tons is generated every day and discharged into the environment without proper waste management. This causes serious environmental problems and it has become one of the greatest challenges of industrial parks. The burning question is: how will this sludge be managed and treated? There are several options for sludge management and treatments. One is the conversion of the sludge to nano-fertilizers, through zeolite formation and a composite formed with nitrogen and phosphorous from agro-waste. Zeolites are non-toxic, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly materials that can be synthesized easily. Large deposits of sludge in Ethiopia can be converted and used for the treatment of industrial wastewater. 

Project:  Market Systems Improvement of Sorghum Enterprise (MSISE) 
Organisation: Centre for Advancement of Women in Agriculture (CAWAT)
Country: Tanzania

CAWAT intends to address food and nutrition insecurity in semi-arid areas of the Mtwara region in southern Tanzania through strengthening sorghum productivity and commercialization. Sorghum has a comparative advantage over other crops in semi-arid regions because it can continue to grow in dry conditions and is less susceptible to disease compared to other crops. Yet it is underutilized because the unstructured market system in which it is normally is a disincentive for market actors. Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) will be employed, bringing together a consortium of different market actors to enhance small holder farmers’ access to climate-smart agro-inputs and practices; business skills development and leverage the market system of sorghum in these areas. The project will apply a market system development approach by building public-private partnerships with grassroots farmers’ organisations for commercialisation of the sorghum value chain. Activities will stimulate investment in sorghum value chain through enhanced access and adoption of climate smart technologies, practices, and agricultural financing. 


Project:  Transforming Agriculture for Sustainable Futures: Empowering Communities through innovative and Nature-Positive Practices in Kikube and Hoima Districts
Organisation: Centre for Ecological Governance and Gender Initiatives (CEGGI)
Country: Uganda

This project promotes sustainable agriculture in Kikube and Hoima Districts. They will leverage cutting-edge technologies such as precision farming, sensor-based irrigation systems, and data-driven decision-making to optimize resource use and enhance productivity. The integration of renewable energy solutions, such as solar-powered irrigation, adds to the project’s innovativeness. Furthermore, their focus is on nature-positive practices, including organic farming and agroforestry, goes beyond conventional farming methods, prioritizing biodiversity conservation and ecosystem resilience. By combining these innovative elements with capacity building, partnerships, and a gender-responsive approach, the project offers a transformative and forward-thinking solution to the agricultural challenges in the districts.

Project:  Responding to Climate Change: Exploring and Scaling up of the Harvest in Apiculture Development
Organisation: University of Embu
Country: Kenya

Climate change and the use of agricultural chemicals continues to adversely affect habitats and the survival of the African stinging bee. Bees are critical in the production of commercially viable products including honey and bee venom, and are critical pollinators. To maintain the integrity of landscapes in Kenya and aid natural pollination of wild and domestic plants, there is the need to promote bee conservation through approaches like community-based bee venom production in selected woodlands in Kenya. From this project, expected outcomes include increased income for about 20,000 households through marketing of venom and enhanced productivity of woodlands and farming systems through natural pollination. 


Project:  Involving Schools and Communities to achieve and strengthen sustainable farming and climate change adaptation in Morogoro Region
Organisation: Foundation for Organic Agriculture Tanzania
Country: Tanzania

The project intends to spread awareness of organic farming among students in their homes and schools. Schools in the region will be chosen, and a number of farmers will join together to establish a group of organic farmers in their corresponding villages and crops. The recipients will be given the tools they need through training, technical assistance, and close monitoring of the implemented idea. If the project is implemented successfully, more students with school-based nutritional initiatives and village farmers will have access to safe food, and young people involved in organic production will have more employment opportunities.


Project:  Carbon Farming for Agricultural and Environmental Sustainability and Profitability (CAFAESUP) 
Organisation: Food Security for Peace and Nutrition Africa (FSPN Africa)
Country: Kenya/Tanzania

The CAFAESUP project is an integrated multi-sectoral intervention against hunger, poverty, and climate change while creating job opportunities for young people and women in local communities. This project is geared towards finding solutions to farm gate emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses. Farm gate emissions are the emissions that are generated before a crop or product leaves the farm and heads to processing, storage, transportation etc. It will also leverage agricultural production land as a carbon sink for atmospheric CO2. It integrates end-to-end data-driven decision-making, through iterative capacity building for the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices, quantification of farm gate CO2 emission and sequestration, incentivization through carbon financing, and facilitation of access to production and market linkages. The project primarily works with youth and female, small-scale farmers within the scope of helping communities build resilience towards climate change by adopting adaptive nature positive solutions and using local resources towards the regeneration of the local environment.

Itanya Africa Group

Project:  Resilience through Regeneration 
Organisation: Itanya Africa Group
Country: Kenya

Resilience through regeneration is a project that seeks to empower female smallholder farmers from the south-eastern part of Kenya to start practicing regenerative farming with the aim of increasing biodiversity, improving soil health, improving nutrition, and increasing their economic output. The project team will use behavioral science and human-centered capacity building to ensure that the farmers’ solutions are contextualized to their needs and are relevant to them. They will then be connected to off-takers (parties who buy the product from smallholder farmers) to ensure that they sell their produce at competitive prices. The project will equip the farmers with capacity building to help them adapt to financial and economic shocks. The proposed solution will start with 150 farmers from the region, piloting the project with the chance to iterate solutions until the capacity is reached. The aim is to  scale until they reach 1,000 farmers.

Project:  Digital Cooperatives
Organisation: Producers Direct
Country: Uganda

The project will digitally bring the advantages of traditional cooperatives to smallholders, empowering them to become leaders in building resilient farming landscapes. Producers Direct has designed Digital Cooperatives to respond to farmers’ realities, regardless of their digital skills or access. Digital Cooperatives digitally connects farmers to key resources, such as access to climate-focused training, real-time personalized data for informed decision making and sustainable markets, supporting diversification and the adoption of regenerative agriculture approaches in farming communities. The project team will leverage the power of technology and Producers Direct’s network of 300K+ African smallholders to revolutionize agriculture. They are co-designing Digital Cooperatives with smallholder groups, including female-only cohorts, ensuring we leave no one behind.