Hunger in MonacoAlthough Monaco is one of the smallest countries in the world, second to the Vatican, it has the highest per capita GDP. The rich flock to Monaco because of the lack of income tax, events such as the Grand Prix and the luxurious lifestyle. It follows that the rate of hunger in Monaco is very low.

This does not mean that hunger is off the radar in Monaco. In fact, Monaco is globally known as a nation helping in the fight against hunger. The leaders in this fight are the nearly 6,000 students that make up the country’s education system. The students work in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), a humanitarian organization working to end worldwide hunger. Thus far, they have raised thousands of dollars and millions of grains of rice to feed the world’s hungry. They do this through a trivia game.

Freerice is an online trivia game by the WFP that both educates the students of Monaco on the issue of world hunger and provides rice to those that need it. It has become the equivalent of a “national sport” in Monaco, with students raising over a million grains of rice in a period of fewer than six months.

“Freerice offers the perfect blend of humanitarian and educational. The Directorate for Education is pleased to engage our students in the fight against hunger, a pressing issue of our time and a priority for the Monegasque government,” Ms. Muriel Bubbio explained in an article by the WFP. “We strongly believe that learning about other countries and continents such as Africa and Asia requires understanding on global issues such as hunger and how one can contribute to addressing these challenges at an individual, local and national level,” she noted.

This is certainly important in an age in which the world is more interconnected through technology than ever before, and what is even better is it is effective.

In November 2011 alone, the student community in Monaco raised over 8,000 euros for the children in Kenya affected by the Horn of Africa crisis through a bake and trinket sale.

More recently, Monaco attended the 40th Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. in Rome. It was represented by H.E. Mr. Robert Fillon, Monaco’s Ambassador to Italy and the Principality’s Permanent Representative to the Food and Agriculture Organization; Elisabeth Lanteri-Minet, Director of International Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Martine Garcia-Mascarenhas, Second Secretary at the Embassy of Monaco in Rome. Overall, the conference focused on climate change, sustainable agriculture, food security, hunger and nutrition.

Monaco’s attendance at the conference shows its continued commitment to hunger worldwide, despite the fact that hunger in Monaco is not very common.

Sydney Roeder

Photo: Flickr