WFP and Rai Net Join Forces to Bring Humanitarian Video Game to Italy
Rome - An Italian version of "Food Force", the first humanitarian video game about world hunger, was launched today in Rome. After the success of the English and Japanese versions, an Italian game was developed by Rai Net in cooperation with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
Available as a free internet download in Italian from www.food-force.rai.it and www.foodforce.rai.it, the game is designed for children aged 8-13 years. Players have to complete six exciting, action-packed missions, including piloting a helicopter to locate the hungry, delivering food aid in the face of tricky obstacles, and helping people rebuild their lives after a disaster.
The game was created by WFP, originally in English, to raise awareness about world hunger among children. Rai Net built the Italian version of the game and took on its promotion with the backing of Pubblicità Progresso (a not-for-profit advertising agency that works to educate people about socially important issues), and Cooperazione Italiana allo Sviluppo, a programme for long-term projects in the developing world within the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"As both the head of Pubblicità Progresso and Director of Rai Net, I am particularly proud and pleased that Rai is reaching children through modern technology in a way that is both educational and entertaining," said Alberto Contri, who worked on the Italian version, at a press conference held today in Rome.
"This modern video game is part of our focus on children," said Giampaolo Rossi, President of Rai Net, "and is in line with the activities that we develop in the Junior area of our website and on our Rai Sat Ragazzi website."
John Powell, Deputy Executive Director of WFP, stressed the importance of WFP's partnership with Rai. "Food Force continues to be a great success all over the world: from the USA to China, kids and teachers love this game. They can learn about world hunger while having fun. Our partnership with Rai Net, as well as the patronage of Pubblicità Progresso and Cooperazione allo Sviluppo, gives the game strong, educational credibility in Italy. It is an opportunity for Italian students and teachers to use this educational tool without any language obstacles."
A number of celebrities generously assisted WFP and Rai Net in making the Italian version of the game by providing their talents pro bono: the big-screen actress and film producer Maria Grazia Cucinotta (of "Il Postino" fame), Rai journalists Livia Azzariti and Franco di Mare, TV personality and game show host Fabrizio Frizzi, radio presenter Antonello Dose, as well as the Brazilian football star Kakà, who plays for A.C. Milan.
Food Force is not only a video game, it is also an online community where players from all over the world can meet and teachers can find useful information to organize lessons on hunger and humanitarian aid work.
Food Force is dedicated to the memory of Paola Biocca, an Italian aid worker who died in a helicopter accident on her way to a mission in Kosovo in 1999, and who helped initiate the project at WFP.
Food Force, which was built by the Italy-based company Deepend, has already been translated into Japanese, and Chinese and French versions will soon be launched. In the meantime - with over three million downloads from the international website www.food-force.com and players from nearly 200 countries - Food Force has received glowing reviews in the media, including gaming and educational publications, and is featured on literally thousands of websites.
Downloads of the Italian and English versions are hosted by Yahoo! Games. Italians have been amongst the top visitors from Europe to the English website, therefore the Italian language version is expected to be very successful too.
B-roll images of Food Force are available.