The World Food Program is currently working on technology that would soon make long food lines and aid to needy people a thing of the past. For the past two years, the organization has been developing a digital system that enables beneficiaries to receive regular cash transfers so that they can purchase whatever they need, without having to stand in a distribution line. This would also make it so that the World Food Program doesn’t have to give away as much food overall.
According to food experts, this move is much more efficient than the previous model of having beneficiaries stand in a long line to receive food that is all held in one location. It is much less expensive to transfer digital funds than it is to deliver tons of food to a troubled region. By doing this, the World Food Program will be able to reach more people in a quicker manner.
An emerging method of offering digital assistance is a biometric chip that beneficiaries will be able to use at local stores that are associated with the World Food Program. These chip cards would also be able to safeguard against fraud. Additionally, this would help to sustain local businesses in the area.
Such an initiative would also allow the World Food Program to identify the hungry people of the world. Officials would be able to collect information on the benefitting families and track their spending patterns to see what they need most. It would also tell them what kinds of people are in the most need of assistance.
Still, the World Food Program would have to be extremely careful about how it manages this data. Organizers have already promised that they wouldn’t share the data with commercial or government entities. However, the World Food Program does intend to share the information with NGOs, such as UNICEF.
While the idea of having one card to access everything is great, it’s not like the World Food Program would stop the practice of distribution lines completely. In disaster regions and remote areas of the world, the direct shipment of food will remain vital to ensuring that people are properly fed. Plus, the vast majority of people benefiting from the World Food Program are not yet in their official database to receive electronic funds.
Basically, the idea is still a work in progress, but it might not be too long until hungry people start receiving assistance in a revolutionary new fashion, swiping cards at stores instead of waiting in lines in the hot sun.