Using your cellphone and pocket change, you could feed Syrian refugees

This United Nations mobile app allows donor’s to give as little as $0.50 to feed Syrian refugees attending school at the Al-Za’tari refugee camp in Jordan.

As millions of Syrians continue to flee their war-torn country to neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon and more distant countries such as England, Germany and France, many people have been looking for a straightforward and simple way to effectively assist the people affected.

A new mobile app, ShareTheMeal, designed by the United Nations World Food Programme, seeks to answer this question by allowing donors to assist Syrian refugees with spare pocket change. Donating a mere $0.50 feeds a child for a day and $150 feeds a child for a year.

The app sends donations to the World Food Program (WFP), a wing of the United Nations that uses the proceeds to distribute food to children living in Jordan’s Al-Za’tari refugee camp. The camp was first opened in 2012 to host Syrians fleeing the violence in the on-going Syrian civil war. In March this year, the camp population reached an estimated at 83 000 refugees, half of whom are children. This marks the fifth year that many Syrians have been away from home.

“Our current goal is to provide school meals to 20 000 Syrian children in refugee camps in Jordan for a full year,” reads ShareTheMeal’s website. “With school meals, we will provide vital nutrition and help them focus on their studies, rather than on empty stomachs.”

The United Nations is touting the app as “the world’s first app against global hunger”. 

The World Food Programme feeds the children fortified foods that do not require cooking such as biscuits. In more stable situations, the programme feeds the children a warm breakfast of enriched porridge and a lunch of maize with beans or peas.

Sebastian Stricker and Bernhard Kowatsch founded ShareTheMeal in Berlin in April 2014. The application is available for download over iOS and Android.