Free Rice

October 29, 2007

freericelogo.gifI’ve found a new little addiction.  Free Rice is a site that has two goals.  To provide English vocabulary to everyone for free, and to help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free. For every word you get right in the quiz, Free Rice will donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program, paid for by advertising on the site.

While I think the idea is great, and certainly should help raise awareness of global hunger the critic in me just can’t resist a little critique.  The concept is a variation on the ‘click a link and we’ll donate’ type of site, and the rice grains and words games are nice way of catching- and holding attention.  However it doesn’t go any further than that really.  There is little attempt to provide information about the root causes of poverty, or to encourage people to do any more than to continue to sit in thier cosy spot in front of the computer while appeasing thier conscience.

But I have to say I still managed to get to level 44 and  to donate 1000 grains of rice (a bowl full?) in the process. It does feel kinda good anyway.

4 Responses to “Free Rice”

  1. A. Says:

    You are so right – it is totally addictive! If it’s OK with you, I’ll add a link to it on my own blog (and to you of course) because it fits in very well with a post I did about new rice for Africa, Rice of Hope.

  2. Sharon Says:

    Of course you can link here A. I enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for dropping by here.

  3. Lance Says:

    I’ve managed to get a script that automates the FreeRice-clicking process. Check it out here –

  4. Walt Says:

    The site specifically says not to automate the vocabulary game –

    From the site FAQ…

    Couldn’t I just write a computer program to play all day and give a lot of rice that way?

    There are two problems with this. First, it overloads our servers so that real people can’t play and learn vocabulary. Second, without real people playing and buying products, it is no longer cost-effective for companies to advertise. Without advertising, we cannot give any rice at all.

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