MasterCard Helps Bring Donations, Food Vouchers To The Hungry
The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian aid organization, servicing around 100 million people in 70 countries each year. In announcing their partnership with MasterCard last week, it’s not exaggeration to say the fortunes of millions of people may change.
As such, PYMNTS.com spoke with Greg Barrow, WFP’s head of U.K. and Ireland, to learn how the organization’s partnership with the financial giant will help hungry people around the world.
According to Barrow, MasterCard will help the WFP with two of it’s primary functions – receiving donations from consumers and companies, and improving the methods through which the WFP provides its beneficiaries with the means to pay for food.
“One of the big challenges for WFP is we have to raise every dollar of our budget every year – we’re an organization that depends entirely on voluntary donations, so providing easy ways for members of the public to donate is critically important,” Barrow says.
To that end, MasterCard has created what they call an “integrated giving platform” that should allow the would-be WFP contributors to donate more easily. Barrow says the platform will allow people from various countries to easily donate through channels that are most familiar to them. Barrow also sees the platform as a way for the WFP to acquire more big retail partners, as the integrated giving system allows merchants to place part of a customer’s order towards a WFP donation.
MasterCard’s technology will also improve the way the WFP is able to provide food to populations in need. Right now, a vast majority of WFP beneficiaries receive “food bags” with basic food items when seeking the WFP’s help. In the future, though, Barrow says the WFP plans to ramp up implantation of a “digital voucher” system, which will have a positive effect on both the WFP and those in need.
“It allows us to deliver the food assistance more efficiently, because we don’t have to transport and store vast amounts of food. It also creates a situation where the money the World Food Programme brings into the market supports local traders and local markets, and feeds into those local economies in a positive way,” Barrow says.
“Perhaps most importantly, it empowers people at receiving end. Instead of just getting the food we decide we want to give them, it gives them some choice and a greater control over their lives, and at the same time teaches them some of the basic steps towards financial instruments that you and I are familiar with but are perhaps not so frequently used in many developing countries.”
According to Barrow, only about two percent of all WFP beneficiaries receive digital payments, but it’s a method the WFP is determined to grow quickly.
“Our goal is to expand rapidly so that by the end of 2015, World Food Programme’s beneficiaries are receiving food assistance through some form of cash or voucher, and we’re hoping that by working with MasterCard, a significant proportion of that number could be receiving it through digital payment systems,” Barrow says.
To hear to Barrow’s full interview, listen to the podcast below.
Global Media Coordinator, World Food Programme
Greg Barrow is WFP's Global Media Coordinator, based at headquarters in Rome. He moved to Rome in 2008 from London, where he headed up WFP's Liaison Office for the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland for almost 5 years.
Before joining WFP, Greg Barrow worked for 14 years as a television and radio journalist for the BBC. He spent a six-year stint reporting from sub-Saharan Africa, based first in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and then in Johannesburg in South Africa, covering mainly conflict and humanitarian disaster stories. He than spent three years in New York as the BBC United Nations Correspondent and reported on the 9/11 attacks.
Please send all press releases and story ideas to Ben Carsley at firstname.lastname@example.org.