18/07/2019 – Sustainability / UN / World Food Programme / ShareTheMeal / App
From bytes to bites
Developed by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), ShareTheMeal is the world’s first app for fighting hunger.
In a world where we produce enough food for everyone, it’s beyond depressing to learn that more than 821 million people still go to bed hungry every night. That’s one in nine people around the world that don’t have adequate access to nutritious food.
Moreover, of that 821 million, some 124 million were considered extremely food insecure in 2017, meaning they’re living on the edge of starvation (up from 106 million in 2016). In fact, hunger and malnutrition are the number one risk to health worldwide today – greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
With a record number of global crises emerging – many fuelled by conflict and the effects of extreme climate – humanitarian needs are emphatically on the rise. At the same time, there are 20 times more smartphone users than hungry people in the world.
That’s where ShareTheMeal comes in.
Thwarting hunger with a handset
Established in 2014 by entrepreneurs Sebastian Stricker and Bernhard Kowatsch in Berlin, ShareTheMeal now sits as an innovation project within WFP.
As the first app working to end global hunger, the World Food Programme’s innovative app enables people to ‘share their meals’ with children in need. It costs just US$0.50 to feed one child for a day. ShareTheMeal makes fighting hunger accessible to anyone with a smartphone, and gives them the ability to help end one of the greatest challenges of our time.
“We have dozens of apps on our phones, but one app keeps us grounded – reminding us to count our blessings, and think of others who have nothing and ask for nothing in return. ShareTheMeal, for me, is a daily inspiration and reminder that a child out there is smiling and dreaming of a better tomorrow,” says Reem Nada, WFP’s Regional Communications Officer in Cairo.
1.4 million users and counting
Available globally in 13 languages and 32 currencies, ShareTheMeal has more than 1.4 million users – and is swiftly growing. Users are able to choose the type of operation they want to support in countries around the world – from school meals to emergency operations.
As of today, more than 39 million meals have already been shared, supporting some of WFP’s most critical operations, including those in Yemen, Syria, and South Sudan.
Through different app features, ShareTheMeal gives its community the ability to connect both with the impact of their donations and with their friends, family or colleagues. Over 12,000 people have joined The Table, a monthly subscription programme where members receive personalised updates about the families they’ve helped. Users can also create customised ‘teams’ in the app, enabling them to set goals and challenge their friends, family, followers or work colleagues to join them in fighting hunger.
Such an initiative could prove a welcome shot in the arm for the WFP, which is struggling under the weight of the hunger problem. The Agency currently spends about US$7.4 billion per annum on thwarting famine and malnourishment, yet it is still only reaching around 91 million people. That money is supplied primarily through government aid, although there are also some corporate donations. With ShareTheMeal, the Agency therefore hopes everyday people can play a larger role in bridging the shortfall.
More info at: https://sharethemeal.org/en/index.html
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