End Global HungerWorld Food Programme and Palantir have recently announced a five-year partnership. WFP delivers 12.6 billion rations across the globe every year. Palantir’s technology has the potential to help WFP reach even more people in need while saving money.

Palantir’s Track Record

Palantir is a private software company that focuses on data analytics. Palantir emerged in 2004 with the intention of providing a different kind of technology than the ones it had seen fail before. The company has worked with several government agencies and other nonprofit organizations such as Mercy Crops and NCMEC. Both organizations have stated that Palantir has helped them become more efficient and that they had become a vital part of the organization’s operations.

How Will Data Mining Help World Food Programme?

World Food Programme has recently stated that it believes that technological innovation is a vital part of reaching its goal to end global hunger by 2030. With Palantir’s help, WFP can develop new analytical technologies to further enhance its global reach. WFP generates tons of data every year with its immense purchases and deliveries of rations. The benefits of the WFP and Palantir’s partnership have already been seen in the two organizations’ pilot application.

WFP and Palantir’s partnership has come from its foundational project together on WFP’s Optimus. An application that pulls together different datasets about types of food which allows for better decision making. Optimus saved WFP $30 million during operation and WFP projects to save up to $100 million. The success of the Optimus application has pushed WFP to partner with Palantir.

Controversy

Although the WFP and Palantir partnership could be extremely beneficial, many worry that it could actually harm the people that it aims to help. Some claim that without oversight, this collaboration could put impoverished people’s data at risk which could be exploited. However, WFP has already expressed that it would not give Palantir access to data about specific people. The nonprofit has also expressed its trust in Palantir and that the company will not use WFP’s data for its own benefit or use the company for data mining unless authorized by WFP.

Although WFP has expressed that this partnership will not put people in harm’s way, it still worries some. However, there have been great benefits from Palantir’s other partnerships with nonprofits and with WFP’s own Optimus project. The WFP and Palantir partnership has great potential and may allow WFP to reach even more hungry people in the next five years.

– Olivia Halliburton
Photo: Flickr