New York - The World Food Programme is joining hands with private sector companies to develop innovative hunger solutions, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran announced today, following a major gathering of private sector companies during the United Nations General Assembly.
“It is crystal clear that we need the ingenuity, power and reach of the private sector in the critical mission to end hunger,” Sheeran said, adding the hunger MDG is most threatened. “Only when companies join with government and the civil society with sustainable solutions can we halve the number of people who go hungry every day.”
Sheeran trumpeted its newest partner, Zynga Games, which will help WFP roll out its most innovative and wide reaching grass roots social media campaign to fight hunger to the 215 million people who play Zynga’s games each month.
WFP’s campaign, “WeFeedback”, will kick off on 11 October, in the lead-up to World Food Day, 16 October. It encourages people on-line to use the Feedback calculator to turn their favourite food item, like sushi, into a donation to feed the hungry. Through this innovative platform people can easily spread the word by activating their personal networks through popular social sites such as Facebook and Google.
Other critical innovations reaching the hungry include:
• Yum! Brands, which is about to enter its fourth World Hunger Relief Campaign, which has to date raised $60 million from its customers for WFP and other hunger relief agencies to feed people worldwide. Yum! is offering its employees and customers a chance to participate in on-line giving through a special widget developed by WFP.
• Project Laser Beam. WFP has joined with WHO, UNICEF, FAO and a half-dozen international companies in a partnership aimed at reducing child malnutrition in Bangladesh and Indonesia. Unilever and Kraft are lead partners in this effort.
• Vodafone Foundation and UN Foundation. WFP has partnered with Vodafone to train and deploy technology experts for emergencies. Thanks to support from the partnership, WFP was able to send telecommunications experts to Haiti within 12 hours of the earthquake in January; these specialists were instrumental in re-establishing communications for the entire humanitarian community.
• WFP’s first private sector partner TNT has supported innumerable emergencies over the years, with cargo planes, warehouses and specialised logistics staff – as well as mobilising its employee base to raise millions of euros for school meals programmes around the world.
• WFP is partnering with DSM to help make its own food products and those of other partner companies more nutritious – even as they help others explore the development of new nutritious food products. DSM on Tuesday received the “World Business Development Award” for its work towards achieving the MDGs in the field of hidden hunger.
“This kind of innovation is opening a world of possibility in combating hunger,” Sheeran said. “Our private sector companies have put us on the cutting edge of hunger solutions.”