UN uses social media to enable donations to feed hungry children

A plate of sushi costing $20 could potentially feed over 80 children for an entire day

19 April 2011 – In an effort to encourage individuals to help feed tens of thousands of hungry children across the world, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has created a social media platform through which people can share their favourite meals by making donations to the agency.

The Internet portal, WeFeedback, engages supporters through an online “Feedback Calculator” that helps them to work out how many children they could feed if they donated the equivalent cost of a favourite food item such as sushi, ice cream or a hot dog.

The donor makes an online contribution of the cash price of the chosen food item to WFP, which in turn uses the money to fund programmes providing meals for needy children in various parts of the world.

Through online social networks, followers of WeFeedback can track, in real-time, how many children their community is feeding and what popular food items are being donated in different parts of the world, according to a WFP press release.

“Individual giving is playing an increasingly important role in mobilizing funds for the hungry, and WeFeedback is providing a portal into this brave new world of philanthropy,” said Nancy Roman, the WFP Director of Communications, Public Policy and Private Partnership Division.

“WeFeedback allows people to share food and activate their social networks, transforming something as simple as a cup of coffee or a sandwich into funds that can change the lives of hungry children forever,” she said.

Since its roll-out began earlier this year, WeFeedback has discovered that participants from the United States are “feeding back” the most sushi, while the world leaders for feeding back pizza, are not Italians, but Montenegrins.

So far, one of the most popular “Feedback” items is birthday cake, but participants have also fed back glasses of wine, cappuccinos and Mexican burritos.

The new platform has attracted some high-profile supporters. The US Grammy Award winning singer Christina Aguilera and the Canadian television personality George Stroumboulopoulos are currently the biggest individual contributors in North America. The actress Drew Barrymore and the Brazilian footballer Kaka – who fed back his favourite meal of rice and beans – are also using the Feedback calculator and have invited their fans to join their WeFeedback communities. The four stars are WFP Ambassadors against Hunger.

WeFeedback has already raised enough money to feed more than 100,000 children, according to WFP.

“As WeFeedback continues to grow in popularity, we have the real opportunity to reach millions of children with the right food and nutrition they need to grow and develop their full physical and intellectual potential,” said Ms. Roman.

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