Newsbrief, TerraViva United Nations

Feed Syrian Refugees With One Click

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 13 2015 (IPS) - A new app to help feed Syrian refugee children with one simple click has been launched by the World Food Programme (WFP).

The app, ShareTheMeal, allows users to donate 50 cents or more to provide the daily nutritional needs of one hungry child. It lets users virtually “share” their meals with a Syrian refugee.

“The simple act of sharing a meal is how people all over the world come together,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin in a statement released here.

“This digital version of sharing a meal is a tangible way that Generation Zero Hunger can act to end hunger,” she continued.

Launched by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2012, Generation Zero Hunger is a challenge and global call to achieve a world without hunger. The target is also included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SGs), which aims to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture in an integrated way.

At the opening ceremony for World Food Day at the Expo Milan 2015, the UN Chief emphasized the importance of an integrated approach. “To end hunger for all people forever, we have to recognize the indivisibility of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” Ban said.

During a side event at the Milan Expo, Ban also highlighted the critical need for research and innovation to address challenges and find solutions.

Founder of the ShareTheMeal app, Sebastian Stricker, noted that the app represents a new, innovative way to address and solve hunger.

“People use their smartphones to buy books, groceries and to pay their rent. So why not use it as a means to help other people?,” Stricker said. “We can move fundraising into the 21st century,” he continued.

Globally, there are 20 times as many smartphone users as there are hungry children.

During a test launch, the ShareTheMeal app successfully recruited over 120,000 users and provided more than 1.7 million meals for school children in Lesotho. The app may also help overcome a shortfall in funding.

By the end of August, the UN had received only 37 percent of the needed funds for its Syria Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan.

This has forced organisations including WFP and the UN’s children’s agency UNICEF to cut essential aid to the estimated 4 million Syrians in camps across the Middle East. For instance, WFP, whose refugee operations are only 19 percent funded, was forced to cut almost 500,000 recipients from its food programme due to the lack of funds.

Launched on Nov 12, ShareTheMeal aims to feed at least 20,000 Syrian refugee children residing in Jordan. Already over 2 million meals have been shared through the app.


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