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Author Picture By - Mar 03, 2016

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The United Nations’ World Food Programme feeds more than 80 million people a year, often families forced to flee their homes because of conflict and disaster. WFP works in some of the world’s most difficult environments providing food, but also hope.

To more efficiently get food to people in need and to engage citizens around the world in supporting its work, WFP is harnessing technology and innovation. Here are two innovations WFP has recently launched to help refugees:

1. Iris-scan payment technology

In February, WFP implemented the use of iris-scan payment technology in Jordan, which allows refugees to pay for food and supplies using an eye scan as opposed to cash, vouchers, or credit cards. By using this system, WFP hopes to improve the efficiency of the distribution process, since cash, vouchers, and PIN numbers can be lost, stolen, or left behind. WFP provides refugees with a certain amount of food assistance, and when they purchase foodstuffs, they are given a printed out receipt so they know their remaining balance. The rollout began with 1,000 refugees in King Abdullah Park, Jordan. Plans are in place to expand this pilot to other sites in Jordan, which houses over 650,000 refugees.

2. ShareTheMeal mobile app

Last autumn, WFP launched ShareTheMeal, a new mobile phone app that makes it easy for people to donate 50¢ USD or more during their own mealtimes (or anytime) to help provide nutritious food to refugees, displaced families, and others in need of vital aid. To date, nearly 400,000 users have funded over 4 million meals through the in-house developed app thus far.

Currently the app is focusing on helping pregnant women, mothers, and young children in conflict-torn city of Homs, Syria. Donations directly support the Aoun Distribution Centre in Homs, which recognizes the value of good nutrition, particularly in the early development stages of a child’s life. To learn more about how you can help feed refugees with the ShareTheMeal mobile app, watch this video.

If we are to achieve the global goal of ending global hunger by 2030, we must be entrepreneurial and make sure no one is left behind, especially vulnerable families.

TAKE ACTION: Download the ShareTheMeal App today and join the World Food Programme in alleviating hunger.

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