Tag Archives: Cambodia

On Digital Learning Day, think FreeRice

FreeRice has two goals: Provide education to everyone for free. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This Wednesday, February 1, is the first ever National Digital Learning Day. It’s a chance to showcase the innovation taking place in classrooms through internet technology and digital media.

One online tool helps students learn and also feeds the hungry worldwide. It is called FreeRice and it’s an online trivia game in which you answer questions on vocabulary, math, chemistry, foreign languages, and even art.

While a student is playing and learning about these subjects, something else magical is happening. For every correct answer, 10 grains of rice, paid for by advertisers, are donated to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the largest agency fighting hunger. The donations are used in WFP operations fighting hunger and malnutrition.

Last year, for instance, students who played this game helped support school feeding programs in Haiti and Cambodia. The more students play the game, the more support for hunger relief.

Innovative online learning can play a role in tackling the most massive crisis facing man. There are nearly one billion people worldwide who suffer from hunger. A severe drought struck East Africa last year causing food shortages and wide-scale displacement as people desperately searched for help. This crisis is far from over.

Another one is fast emerging in West Africa, in the Sahel region, where the countries of Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Mali are being devastated by drought which has ruined food supplies. Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, and so many other countries are suffering deeply from hunger and malnutrition.

The World Food Programme relies on voluntary donations to help these countries fight hunger. This agency is so low on funding that many of their relief operations face suspensions or reduced rations. Right now, children in Mauritania are about to lose their school meal of rice at a time when they need it more than ever. The same holds true in the Ivory Coast, where rice and other supplies are running out for children in a country recovering from an internal conflict last year.

FreeRice is a digital tool that can help these hungry children while helping other children learn. The game’s mission statement is to “Provide education to everyone for free” and “Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.” The game is even great for adults who want to test their knowledge on these subjects.

So on this Digital Learning Day I hope many students and teachers will join the already one million players of FreeRice. You can form teams on FreeRice too, so perhaps schools can develop tournaments between classes and even other schools just as they do with football, basketball, debating, and other activities. The sky is the limit for this online learning tool and what it can accomplish.

You can start playing at Freerice.com.

Article first published as On Digital Learning Day, Think FreeRice on Blogcritics.

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Practice Your Spanish and Help End Global Hunger

Playing the online game Free Rice leads to donations for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to fight global hunger . Every correct answer means 10 grains of rice donated to WFP, the largest food aid organization.

There is a great new way students or anyone else can practice Spanish vocabulary. Now, if you are already fluent in Spanish, please skip ahead to the last paragraph. If not, stick around.

What does the Spanish word Marzo mean? Does El Cobre mean copper or hat? What does the word tarde mean in Spanish? Hint: hopefully you have never been this going to school or work.

These are just a few examples of Spanish vocabulary questions available at the award winning online game Free Rice. To get started, you go to Freerice.com and click on Spanish under the languages section. There are also sections for many other subjects too.

You can answer hundreds of Spanish vocabulary questions. For each answer you get right, 10 grains of rice will be donated to the United Nations World Food Programme to fight hunger. The rice is paid for by advertisers on the site. You will see the rice being added to a bowl in the right hand corner of the screen every time you get an answer right.

The World Food Programme runs the site with its two stated goals: To “Provide education to everyone for free” and “Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.”

So you can practice your Spanish vocabulary while at the same time helping fight hunger which afflicts nearly 1 billion people worldwide. It’s a great tool for learning, humanitarianism and social responsibility.

Click on the groups section and create your own team for your class, school or organization. You might even be able to set up a tournament between schools.

Yes, back to those who have already mastered Spanish. There are Free Rice sections for German, Italian and French. Bonne chance!!

To get started playing, visit FreeRice.com

Article first published as Practice Your Spanish and Help End Global Hunger on Blogcritics.

Free Rice is currently helping feed children in Cambodia, where massive floods have struck recently. See below a video from the World Food Programme.

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Interview: Para Hunzai of the World Food Programme in Cambodia

The UN World Food Programme provides school meals to children in Cambodia (World Food Programme)

Para Hunzai of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) recently reported on the massive flooding taking place in Cambodia. Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes. Livelihoods have been lost as farm lands have been swept away. This crisis is taking a great toll on the many families in the country already living in poverty.

WFP provides assistance in Cambodia, including a school meals program which is a crucial safety net to help the poor overcome shocks like the floods. School feeding keeps children fed, healthy, and learning. Para recently took time to discuss the impact of this program and ways you can get involved to help feed and educate children in Cambodia.

How many children are currently receiving the WFP school meals?

During the coming school year (October 2011 – July 2012) 342,000 primary school children will receive hot nutritious breakfasts consisting of rice, yellow split beans, fish, salt and oil. Over 65,000 of the poorest families also receive a monthly scholarship of either 10 kg of rice per month or the cash equivalent of US$5 as an incentive to send children to school.

What has been the impact of the meals in terms of class attendance and performance?

An independent impact evaluation commissioned by WFP in 2010 showed that the impact of the school meals and food scholarship activities is evident on three levels:

Education: The impact of school meals was evident in higher enrolment (an analysis of Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) data shows a 2-2.5 percent increase upon a school’s inclusion in the School Meals Programme, with a bigger increase for girls at 3 percent; furthermore, over the period 2002-2009 the increase in enrolment was 6.1 percent higher for schools that were part of the School Meals Programme); increased attendance (based on the household survey, food scholarship activities contributed to an annual increase of around 3 percent) and reduced drop-out rates (the School Meals Programme reduced drop-outs, especially in grades 2-4 by around 2.7 percent).

Nutrition: The School Meals Programme helped reduce morbidity among pupils in general and absence from school as a result of illness among girls. The potential for nutritional improvement through school meals was evidenced through a decrease in night blindness, attributed to the use of vitamin A-fortified vegetable oil.

Value-Transfer: The food scholarship constituted a predictable and regular value transfer to households worth 23.5 percent of household income. Among School Meals Programme beneficiaries the figure was 14 percent. Food scholarship activities enabled poor families to extend the period during which they did not have to buy rice and increased resilience to food shortages during lean periods, thereby reducing their vulnerability and increasing options for investing in assets. Households also confirmed that the food scholarship activities constituted a credible compensation for income lost if children were attending school, thereby reducing child labour.

Is there a plan to expand the program if needed?

WFP’s school meals and scholarship programme covers over 2,000 schools in 12 out of 24 provinces, reaching over half a million school children. Based on need, WFP’s Education Programme has been re-targeted to reach a greater number of children this school year. The Scholarship Programme is being scaled up from 900 to 2,000 schools (from 20,000 to 60, 000 households) (Oct 2011-July 2012). In addition, a pilot cash scholarship programme will reach 5,000 students in various schools. The expansion of the programme is reliant on resources and need and is re-assessed accordingly. WFP targets the most food-insecure provinces.

What are the prospects of a national school lunch program in Cambodia where all children can receive the meals?

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, this is especially true for children from poor households who sometimes eat little or no breakfast. This affects their ability to concentrate on lessons for the rest of the day. Therefore, WFP provides breakfasts before the school day commences. WFP has been implementing its school feeding programme in Cambodia since 1999. WFP is working closely with the Ministry of Education and with NGO partners to explore cost-effective options for possible nationwide scale-up in the future. Currently, WFP and the Ministry of Education target the poorest and most food insecure areas in 12 out of 24 provinces. There is currently no school lunch programme.

How can someone get involved and help school feeding in Cambodia?

Supporters of WFP can help create awareness of issues of food insecurity and malnutrition of vulnerable populations including primary school children in Cambodia. A recent national survey indicates that almost 40 percent of children under 5 are not as tall as they should be (stunted) and are not receiving the micronutrients needed to grow. Awareness-raising can be done by spreading the word of WFP activities through sharing communication and advocacy material published on the WFP website (for information on Cambodia, see http://www.wfp.org/countries/cambodia ).

WFP is 100 percent voluntarily funded, raising every dollar it spends. Donations are greatly welcome to ensure programmes continue to reach the desired impact. The website www.freerice.com is also a way to raise awareness, better your vocabulary, and raise money. The website lets users play word games. For every right answer users can donate rice directly to WFP beneficiaries including to the WFP school meals programme in Cambodia.

Article first published as Interview: Para Hunzai of the World Food Programme in Cambodia on Blogcritics.

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