Social media against hunger

Allison Danao
Do you surf the Internet often? Why not make the most out of social media and use it as a tool to help fight hunger?

SOCIAL MEDIA VS HUNGER. Social media can be an effective tool in raising awareness about hunger, as well as translating that awareness into concrete action and results offline. Graphic by Jessica Lazaro/Rappler.com

MANILA, Philippines – Are you aware of hunger initiatives around the world?

With the advent of social media and the Filipinos’ active use of it, the fight against hunger can be made more extensive. (READ: Social media for social change)

The power of social media in linking and connecting people and their advocacies has been evident in the growing consumption of social networking sites (SNS) like Facebook, Twitter, among many others. 

One of these is Freerice.com, a global initiative addressing hunger through an online quiz. Each correct answer donates 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme (WFP).

The site, launched by WFP in 2007, aims to distribute free rice among hungry families across the globe.

“There are 842 million undernourished people in the world today. That means 1 in 8 people don’t get enough food to live active and healthy lives,” WFP said. (READ: Why is PH agriculture important?)

WFP stressed that hunger and malnutrition are the world’s top health risks – even greater than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. (READ: Hunger 101)

Rice online

Freerice.com is a non-profit website based in the WFP’s headquarters in Rome, Italy.

It has two main goals:

  • Provide education to everyone for free
  • Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free

The questions adjust their difficulty depending on each level. You can choose from different subjects like Humanities, English, Math, Language, Science, and Geography. There is also a test preparation course which high school students could find useful.

To track the rice and cash donations you earn, users need to sign up for an account or join a group.

Once you enter the site, there will already be an English vocabulary question on display. You can change language settings and subjects to your area of interest.

Other questions include famous quotation questions you can keep for inspiration, like this:

“Who said this quote? ‘If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.’

There is also an official Freerice shop on the website where Freerice merchandise like T-shirts, tote bags, and mugs are sold. The shop hopes to raise more awareness about the initiative, while raising funds at the same time.

Freerice distributions have already been made in Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, Uganda, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Haiti.

The Philippines is not yet included in the countries where Freerice operates; however, WFP conducts school feeding programs in Central Mindanao. The program, in partnership with the Department of Education, provides nutritious meals to elementary schoolchildren in conflict areas.

The current target is 100,000 children in 350 schools.

KC’s closet

Another way to support the project is by purchasing items online from actress KC Concepcion through her online shop called “KC’s Closet Fights Child Hunger.”

KC has served as a WFP National Ambassador Against Hunger since 2008. (WATCH: KC’s fight against hunger)

KC’s Closet is an online auction that raises funds to provide children in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao with nutritious school meals. (READ: Unsexy but worthy fight)

E-bay hosts the charity auction where KC’s pre-loved items are being sold for bargain prices. Among the items auctioned are designer bags like Prada and Hermes, as well as clothes, shoes, accessories, gadgets, and other knickknacks.

The auction is still ongoing. You can bid and help here through e-Bay.

By being able to reap this power of being mass-based and interconnected, Filipinos could easily work together to support such advocacies. 

For one, Rappler’s #HungerProject is an online platform that aims to raises awareness, spark intelligent conversations, and inspire action against hunger and its many related issues.

The promotion of these efforts through social media is like stepping on the shoulder of giants – advocacies are carried more visibly, as they are more exposed to the majority of citizens.

Remember though that the fight is not boxed in computer screens; social media can be an effective tool for translating awareness harvested from the Internet into concrete action and results offline. – Rappler.com

Do you know of other initiatives against hunger? E-mail us at move.ph@rappler.com. Send us your stories, ideas, video and research materials, infographic, and anything else you’d like to share.

We encourage filmmakers, artists, mappers, writers, researchers, and advocates to come together to raise more awareness and inspire collective action towards beating hunger. Be part of the solution, be part of the #HungerProject

Allison Danao is a Communications student at the University of the Philippines Los  Baños and a Rappler intern.