FreeRice.com: Ending World Hunger One Grain of Rice at a Time
Posted on February 2, 2010
Weird Asia News delights in bringing to you the latest and weirdest news from our friends in the East. Although an informative and humorous website at heart, we would like to deviate from our regularly scheduled weirdness to bring to you a message of hope and love.
World hunger is an epidemic of epic proportions. As of 2007 close to one billion people worldwide suffered from the devastating effects of malnutrition, an enigma considering that as of 2008, there was enough food being produced in the world to feed double its population, which amounts to approximately twelve billion people.
Thankfully, there are many kind souls doing their part to help, one of which is FreeRice.com, a not-for-profit website started by John Breen to end world hunger and, although secondary to the overall cause, educate those wishing to help.
The site works as such: on the main page you are presented with a question and a list of answers. The default subject is vocabulary, though players can change the subject at any time. For each question you get correct, ten grains of rice will be donated to help fight world hunger. As the game is played and more questions are answered correctly, sponsor banners at the bottom of the page help generate money to pay for the rice being donated.
In 2009 Breen donated FreeRice.com to the UN World Food Programme, which oversees the distribution of the rice being donated. FreeRice has also partnered with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, a “network of faculty, students, fellows and members of an extended community” that “envision(s) a growing opportunity to use Internet technologies to improve the ways that we teach, learn, and make information accessible to citizens around the world.”
The success of FreeRice.com has been incredible. Since the website launched, over 74 billion grains of rice have been donated. When the site first launched social networking sites such as Digg helped get the word out, resulting in a number of computer scripts being created to automate the process, effectively resulting in more grains of rice being donated. It is thought that a script running 24/7 can feed roughly eight people per day. Although this lessens the educational impact of the website, the results have been tremendous, and several scripts still run to this day.