On the eve of Thanksgiving Day in the United States, the UN World Food Programme invites the world’s most prolific users of the Internet to take time out from traditionally the busiest online shopping period of the year and help the hungry by playing phenomenally successful web-based vocab game, FreeRice.
On the eve of Thanksgiving Day in the United States, the UN World Food Programme invites the world’s most prolific users of the Internet to take time out from traditionally the busiest online shopping period of the year and help the hungry by playing phenomenally successful web-based vocab game, FreeRice
“As we give thanks for what we have, there is a fun way to do something for those who have less. Click on FreeRice,” said Nancy Roman, WFP’s Director of Communications.
Since FreeRice went live on October 7, web users have donated over two-and-a-half billion grains of rice – enough to feed more than 125,000 people - by simply playing the site’s ingenious vocab test; for every correct click, FreeRice donates the cash equivalent of 10 grains of rice to WFP’s global operations.
The site has become an international viral success story, with almost 100 communities listed on FaceBook and people posting their thoughts about global hunger on YouTube.
According to Hitwise UK, an Internet monitor, FreeRice was the most popular humanitarian website for the week ending November 17, capturing one in 8 visits to its humanitarian category.
With almost 200 million grains being donated per day, the site’s creator, John Breen has already handed a US$100,000 cheque to the Agency, which will help provide food rations for 26,000 Burmese refugees sheltering in Bangladesh.
WFP is also launching a new section on its site, both to explain the importance of rice in the Agency’s average food ration and to give supporters a chance to “Donate More” by buying 25 kilo rice sacks used to feed the hungry in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
For the past four years, the Thanksgiving Day holiday has registered as the peak period for online retailers in the United States. With over 230 million Internet users, the United States represents the world’s largest web community.
FreeRice is the latest brainchild of US online fundraising pioneer John Breen, who first tied funds to clicks on the Web in 1999 with the Hunger Site, at the time, a WFP partner. Breen runs the Poverty.com website, a portal for information and facts about hunger and related diseases. FreeRice relies on private companies’ ad space payments to underwrite donations to WFP.