about the author
Annie Emberland is a Communications Officer at WFP’s Washington office. Previously, she worked as a production assistant for NBC Nightly News, and earlier as an environmental reporter in Maryland, US.
Audrey Moh wanted to rally the Model United Nations’ interest on world affairs. A teacher and Model UN advisor at the Busan International Foreign School in South Korea, Moh thought the Millennium Development Goals would be a good place to begin her lessons and spark student interest.
This spark worked—throughout the project, the students, from both the Model UN and the Environmental Club, raised more than US$2,450 for WFP.
To help students understand the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1) on eradicating hunger and poverty, Moh planned a “30-Hour Famine,” where high school students would fast for 30 hours to raise awareness on hunger issues. As an opportunity for younger students to get involved as well, the school also held a Freerice event where students could play WFP’s online vocabulary game, contributing grains of rice to the school account.
The group needed to make sure others were aware of their event in advance. “One way of teaching is for students to teach each other, so we created a pledge card for this occasion,” Moh said. Students spent time asking people to donate to support the cause. “It gave them the opportunity to talk to people about their cause, and they felt really effective when people listened and responded generously,” Moh said.
They also hung posters around school and included information in the daily news bulletin at the school on MDG1. They publicised their work at their Christmas bazaar. “We publicised statistics and information from the UN about what has been done and what can be done,” Moh said.
Then came the main event itself. In addition to a “pajama party,” the students listened to a presentation from DoKyung Kwon, an intern at WFP’s office in Seoul, South Korea. Kwon discussed the causes of hunger, logistics and her own experience with disaster relief. She inspired the students, Moh said.
“Her sharing made our cause more pertinent to the students, and they saw that what they were doing had an impact,” Moh said.
Following the event, Moh reflected on the experience with her students. “They felt that they now have a more grounded understanding of the problems of the world as opposed to before, when what they knew was just through the media,” she said.
Though the 30-hour famine took place over one single period of time, the Freerice event went on for 10 days. With the help of about 300 students in grades four through 12, the students raised about 150,000 grains of rice for WFP, enough to feed nearly eight people for a day.
Though this was their first time doing an event like this, Moh said they would like to do it again, perhaps incorporating issues other than hunger. Though Model United Nations clubs generally focus primarily on conferences and resolutions, Moh said she wanted her students to understand the issues on a different level.
“What’s the point of writing resolutions for the world if you are not able to empathise and understand what really is going on? Everything is hypothetical until you experience it yourself,” Moh said.
(Above, students work on a banner during the 30-Hour Famine and display armbands they wore during the event. Photos courtesy Audrey Moh)