about the author
Ali is a Communications and Outreach Coordinator in the Washington D.C. office.
How would you let your school know that hunger is the world’s greatest solvable problem? Zara, a high school student in Jamaica, tapped into the tool her classmates were already using to communicate in school and out: social media. With one successful awareness-raising campaign behind her and an ambitious Freerice school event on the horizon, Zara has become a true social media advocate using her posts to power offline action. Here’s her story.
Like many students her age, Zara first discovered WFP playing Freerice. What inspired her to deepen her commitment to the organisation and do something even bigger on hunger was WFP’s real impact in the lives of people around the world.
“The impact that the WFP has made on so many communities touched me, and so I've been trying to help wherever I can,” she said.
Though she’d been involved in solving hunger on a local scale, Zara knew that hunger was a global problem – and she wanted her actions to make just as global of an impact.
“I've never felt true hunger (chronic hunger), but I've seen people suffering from it within my community,” she said. “I've distributed food items in the past, but I felt that joining the World Food Programme could help me fight hunger worldwide.”
She started small, turning online to follow WFP’s social media channels and help spread the word. Then, knowing she could do more than simply “like” a page, she started reposting WFP’s photos and content to her social networks every day. Quickly, the message took hold. She found that not only did the issue of hunger resonate with her friends and family – so did the knowledge that they could make a real difference.
For her first offline event, she turned to her old favourite hunger-fighting tool: Freerice. She led the local Campion College Key Club in a Freerice event where all of the club’s members went to the school computer lab to test their smarts and raise real grains of rice for the world’s hungry.
Thanks to that first event’s success, she’ll be hosting another upcoming Freerice event. She’s looking forward to once again showing her friends just how easy it is to get involved in solving hunger.
“Even if students think their efforts are small, even the smallest action can make a huge impact in someone's life,” she said.
For students aspiring to become hunger advocates at their school, her biggest piece of advice is to form a group of like-minded individuals.
“Work in groups,” she said. “A big task may seem too difficult at first, but if you split the problem into segments and delegate a person to handle each segment, it is possible to pull off 'miracles.’”
Social media helped Zara build a group of passionate individuals solving hunger at her school and in her community – and now it’s connecting her to students like you around the world. Tweet us @WFP_Students or post on our Facebook page how you’re using social media to spread the word about hunger.