Three years ago, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, launched the Zero Hunger Challenge. Since then, numerous initiatives have been set up that together represent a unique global movement to end hunger. Now the UN's World Food Programm (WFP) has come up with yet another way to encourage even more people to get involved: a simple app.
The ShareTheMeal app makes fighting global hunger as easy as checking the weather: with just two clicks you can ensure that a child has enough to eat for one whole day. Using the app allows you to donate 40 cents to the ShareTheMeal initiative. The money is then used to purchase food from local sources, and the food is shared out among the 1,100 schools in Lesotho. The country in southern Africa has one of the lowest rates of food security, with a reported 39% of children under the age of five stunted due to the effects of malnutrition, one of the reasons why the WFP decided to launch their project right there.
Each user donates 40 cents, which is enough to provide a child with two meals throughout the day. Due to the lack of readily available nutritious food within the country, those meals are also enriched with vitamins and minerals, helping to ensure that the children are given the best opportunity possible to grow up strong and healthy. For many children those are the only meals they'll eat that day. By providing school dinners, the WFP has also brought about an interesting and significant side effect: the initiative is making it possible, for the first time, for many families to regularly send their children to school. Before it started, it was common for children to be sent to work instead, so that they could contribute to the family's upkeep. And there's another positive side effect too: by working with the local farmers, the initiative is also supporting economic development within the region.
The WFP is the biggest humanitarian organisation in the world to have set out their intention to fight hunger worldwide, and their projects currently help approximately 80 million people each year. Their work is financed solely by donations, with a mere 10% of the money they receive going towards covering their administrative costs.
According to the app's official website, there are currently 20 times more smartphones users than there are hungry children in the world, meaning that even if only a fraction of those download and start using the app, huge changes could be made to the lives of people in Lesotho. So what are you waiting for? Grab your smartphone and pull up a chair at the table. The ShareTheMeal app is available for Android, IOS and also via Amazon.
This article has been translated from the original by Silvana on our German platform.