This week, the UN World Food Programme and its partner DSM are kicking off a campaign to get more Likes on Facebook. Likes alone won't feed hungry children. But the combined will of individuals is crucial to ending hunger. If Likes can help bring those people together, then Likes are what we need.
Why should the UN's frontline organization against hunger care how many fans it has on Facebook? Surely there are more pressing things to worry about, like the millions of people who will go hungry this year because we don't have the resources to help them.
The answer is simple. While close to a billion people will go to bed hungry tonight, a billion more will login to Facebook to catch up with their friends, play games and find out what's going on in the world.
Most, if not all of them, would agree that hunger is a problem. Many, if not most, would do something about it if they could. But only a tiny fraction of them have gotten the message that they can and that it's easy.
WFP is the largest humanitarian aid organization in the world. We feed around 100 million people every year, working in more than 80 countries and many of the most dangerous and remote places on Earth. From Syria to South Sudan, our colleagues risk their lives every day to reach those who need their help.
Royal DSM is a global sciences company and a world leader in the field of nutrition. They're helping us introduce cutting-edge hunger solutions, like micronutrient powders that a mother can sprinkle onto a bowl of rice to add all of the vitamins and nutrients her children need to be healthy. With innovations like these, we can free children from malnutrition for just pennies a day.
That's why we care about how many fans we have on Facebook. Because each time that number grows, we have a new opportunity to tell someone who can make a difference about the work that we're doing and the help that we need.
If we were a soft drink company or sold shoes, the solution would be simple. We could give away lots of free stuff and spend a bunch of money on advertising. But as an agency funded entirely through voluntary donations, we simply can't do that.
If you're reading this, it's because you didn't need advertising or giveaways to know that it is wrong for nearly a billion people to be hungry. Your friends and family and co-workers probably don't need any of that either.
But they do need to know that we're here. And we need your help to tell them.
So take this article, share it with everyone that you know and tell them that the world's largest humanitarian aid agency is waiting for them on Facebook.
Follow Justin Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@justin_eugene