Food Force: The UN video game that makes learning about aiding hungry people cool
December 19, 2005 4 Comments
To be on the edge nowadays you’ve got to be able to multi-task. For instance, your love of computer gaming can now be combined with your concern for starving people. Premiering here on Bullets & Honey is the United Nation World Food Program’s latest idea: Food Force. That’s right, the international gaming market is realising that a non-violent, educational video game that allows 8-13 year olds to step into the shoes of aid workers can become the latest craze. According to the WFP, a million kids have already downloaded the game. Here are some of its heroic characters:
Rachel Scott Age: 26
‘Rachel was born into a ‘logistics’ family – her father has a small trucking business and her mother drives an ambulance. It was no surprise when Rachel decided to put her own logistical skills to use for WFP.
Angela was born in Ireland, but moved to New York with her family when she was only 2 years old. At school she specialised in economics and graduated in Business Administration. After successfully running her own Internet fundraising business she decided to switch careers and help WFP in its massive task of raising and managing funds for emergency operations.’
There is something for everyone in the game. For instance, by doing well in the Food Force Bowl challenge, you can get a chance t0 win tickets to Super Bowl XL in Detroit. Have fun is the message but do it responsibly and learn about Lucy.
‘…when Lucy’s sister died of AIDS two years ago, she was left more than a hectare of stony soil. The 22-year-old also inherited her sister’s disabled husband, seven young children, a goat and two ducks. The couple have since had three more children.’
‘Even with regular rains, Lucy struggled to produce enough food to feed 12 mouths, but last winter drought withered and strangled her crop long before harvest time. She showed us the remains, a short walk from her family’s stone hut, on the other side of a dried-up river bed. By June, Lucy had exhausted her total yield: two sacks of sorghum. Like most other subsistence farmers in the village, she turned to casual labour, crushing stones into gravel to sell on the roadside. There were few takers, and her neat, grey piles still line the dirt track.’
‘In August, with the price of maize soaring in the market, her family surviving on one meagre portion of maize porridge per day and her youngest child showing symptoms of kwashiorkor (severe protein malnutrition), Lucy approached her village chief and joined the monthly queues for WFP food aid at the local school. Queuing patiently under a burning sun, one of more than 1,000 hungry villagers, Lucy waits her turn before handing in her ration card and collecting a 50kg (7st 9lb) sack of maize. Somehow hoisting the dead weight on to her head, she walks the mile back to her hut.’
‘By the time she arrives, a trail of maize is running from a small split in the bag. Her children sweep up the granules as if they were gold dust. It is hard to imagine Lucy and her fellow villagers ever being more than hostages to disease and drought in such a harsh environment. But an hour up the road, at Chitsukwa village, there is another story that offers some hope for the future of southern Malawi – not to mention enough maize to feed Lucy’s village several times over. For three years Bishop Khado, a local farmer, refused to accept his fate, clinging to the dream of irrigation…’
Awesome dude! Join the Food Force team by linking up with Paul Tergat, the champion marathoner who you may not have known but as an eight-year-old pupil at Riwo Primary School in Kenya’s Rift Valley received food aid from WFP. And look what a difference that made.
It’s enough to bring a tear to the eye, isn’t it?