Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer.
Navyn Salem, a mother of four in Rhode Island, has a deep and unwavering commitment to a lofty goal of ending childhood malnutrition. This story, as reported by Anderson Cooper, was Navyn’s inspiration to take action back in 2008. She saw the need to increase access to Ready-to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs) like Plumpy’Nut® in developing countries, while building on the success of these peanut-based solutions to reach more of the under-served, malnourished populations.
After building a factory in Tanzania and working with the Tanzanian government to help develop national guidelines for the use and distribution of RUTFs, Navyn saw an opportunity to focus her efforts in Rhode Island, where she could create jobs in her home state and also produce ready-to-use food (RUF) for countries that did not have the capacity. With the ease of access to suppliers and transportation in the United States, Navyn could also more readily broaden product offerings beyond treatment for children with acute malnutrition to prevention of stunting, which affects four times as many children around the world.
Edesia, a nonprofit organization based in Providence, was started by Navyn in 2009. The first sachet of Plumpy’Nut® came off the line in 2010. Edesia has reached over 2 million malnourished children in 40 countries since March of 2010. You can read Navyn’s full story on Edesia’s website.
More on the problem of malnutrition:
- According to UNICEF, there are at least 51 million children in our world under the age of five suffering from acute malnutrition, a condition directly responsible for at least 1 million young child deaths each year.
- Stunting occurs in children who have access to food but for whom nutrition and hygiene are inadequate; 165 million children are stunted and will experience lifelong cognitive and physical deficits that cannot be overcome. The irreversible stunting that occurs in children as a result of prolonged under nutrition, causes children to underperform in school and have lifelong health problems, furthering perpetuating economic loss and the cycle of poverty for families, communities, and countries.
- Malnutrition contributes to an estimated 45% of all child deaths as it makes a child more susceptible to other life threatening diseases and illnesses. Malnourished children are 9 times more likely to die from diarrhea and 6 times more likely to die from pneumonia.
- Malnutrition is called the silent killer because often it goes unnoticed until it is too late.
- The economic toll of malnutrition costs countries millions of dollars each year.
- Proper nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life – from conception to two years of age – is critical to a child’s healthy development and future productivity in society.
Edesia’s products help treat and prevent various forms of malnutrition. Due to increased extreme weather patterns and a rise in conflict zones around the world, the demand for Plumpy’Nut has risen dramatically over the past few years. They are now are in the process of building a larger factory to expand their ability to treat malnourished children in crisis scenarios, from 600,000 a year to 2,000,000 a year.
Edesia needs the support of the community to help raise the final $3 million dollars that it needs to complete the new facility and reach more malnourished children who need their help to survive and thrive. It costs just $50 for a case of Plumpy’Nut or full treatment to save the life of a child. You can make a donation here. Every bit helps.
You can also help spread the word via Twitter. Here are some suggested Tweets:
- With your help @edesiaglobal can treat more children for #malnutrition http://www.edesiaglobal.org #Nourishthefuture
- Babies go from #malnourished to health in just 7 weeks w/ Plumpy’Nut. Help @edesiaglobal #Nourishthefuture http://www.edesiaglobal.org
- #malnutrition contributes to the death of approx. 3.1 million children yearly. Let’s change that. http://www.edesiaglobal.org #Nourishthefuture
- The #RhodeIsland #Non-Profit @edesiaglobal has global impact. Help us #Nourishthefuture of even more children. http://www.edesiaglobal.org