So it turns out that not all the news is bad news these days. Tonight on the 6pm news they had a piece about two schools, one in Indiana (U.S.) and one in Uganda, being connected by a website. The website was FreeRice.com.
If you go to the website you will see a little (English) vocabulary game on the main page – one word, followed by 4 definitions. On the right is an empty wooden bowl. To play, choose the definition which best matches the word at the top. Choose the correct definition, and 20 grains of rice is added to your bowl – and 20 grains of real rice, is donated to the United Nations World Food Program. That’s it! If you get it wrong you won’t get any rice, but the correct answer will appear and that word will reappear later to give you a chance to answer it correctly. It’s also great the way the level of word can be set, or otherwise automatically adjusts itself to your level. This means that anyone can play, from primary school students to rocket scientists.
So who pays for the rice? Well, theoretically, we do! As you play banner ads appear at the bottom of the screen. These businesses pay for the rice by buying the advertising space. From the FreeRice FAQ:
Here is how it works. When you play the game, advertisements appear on the bottom of your screen. The money generated by these advertisements is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people.
Where does the rice go? Check out this World Food Program (WFP) page. Feeling inspired? That link also has a colour poster that you can print and put up in your car window, uni noticeboard or office door.
So I was playing this and with my (mad) vocabulary skills I earned 2000 grains of rice in 5-10 minutes. So how much is 2000 grains of rice? (Where is Hanners when we need her?) Well, I was up to 44 in my counting before I realised the smart thing to do would be to look online. And sure enough, the FreeRice bug has caught on and everyone wants to know how much rice they’ve earned. I’m willing to go with about 7,000 grains in a cup of uncooked rice, which is 2-3 cups of cooked rice? So 2,000 grains of rice is like… a cup? ish? I hate maths.
But anyway, point is – 0.0001% of your time = food for hungry people.
∴ www.freerice.com = Good thing.