UN agency holding video contest to raise awareness about global hunger

21 November 2007

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is inviting filmmakers, students and other Internet users to take part in a new international competition called “Hunger Bytes” in which contestants are asked to make the best short “viral video” that raises awareness about the subject of global hunger.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is inviting filmmakers, students and other Internet users to take part in a new international competition called “Hunger Bytes” in which contestants are asked to make the best short “viral video” that raises awareness about the subject of global hunger.

The five most compelling video clips of between 30 and 60 seconds in length that are submitted to WFP will be highlighted on YouTube, and the video that enjoys the most views by World Food Day on 16 October next year will be deemed the winner and then given the chance to visit and film one of the agency’s relief operations.

Participants will be encouraged to boost their chances of winning by sharing the web links on blogs and on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

To give filmmakers an idea of what they can do, WFP has also produced its own 30-second video in which participants at a competitive eating contest are shown in slow motion wolfing down hot dog after hot dog before a message reminds viewers that “850 million go to bed hungry every night… Share.”

Launching the contest today at WFP headquarters in Rome, the agency’s Director of Communications and Public Policy Strategy Nancy Roman said the concept was borne out of concern about how global hunger is often an ignored crisis.

“For those of us doing the day-in, day-out, backbreaking work of getting food to hungry people, it’s sometimes discouraging how few people understand that hunger stalks and kills a child every five seconds,” Ms. Roman said.

The agency is also calling on the world’s Internet users to help it in another way during the Thanksgiving holiday period in the United States, by clicking on an increasingly popular game in which a website donates the cash equivalent of 10 grains of rice to WFP for every vocabulary question answered correctly by participants.

Since FreeRice.com began on 7 October, more than 3 billion grains of rice have been donated, enough to feed more than 150,000 people for one day. Yesterday it set a one-day record when over 218 million grains were donated. An Internet monitor also found that FreeRice was the most popular humanitarian website for the week ending Saturday, capturing one of every eight visitors to websites in that category.

The website’s creator, the US fundraising pioneer John Breen, has already been able to give WFP a cheque for $100,000 that will be used to provide food rations for an estimated 26,000 refugees from Myanmar who are currently living in Bangladesh.

FreeRice relies on payments from companies that place advertisements on the site to underwrite its donations to WFP, the world’s largest humanitarian agency. Last year the agency provided food to 88 million people, mainly women and children, in 78 countries.

 

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