Sometimes solutions to seemingly intractable problems can be the most simple, and appear from the most surprising of places if you are curious and committed. That’s certainly the case for a non-profit organisation I visited recently, Edesia, which helps treat and prevent malnutrition in the world's most vulnerable populations.
Navyn Salem, Edesia's founder and CEO, was watching TV back in 2007 when she saw a 60 Minutes feature from Anderson Cooper in Niger, covering a “miracle” food called Plumpy’Nut. The ready-to-use food had been invented by Nutriset in France and Anderson reported how it was saving the lives of severely malnourished children.
Rather than finding it momentarily interesting and going on with her day, Navyn investigated further and went about setting up Edesia to expand the distribution of the ready-to-use foods. By 2009 they had partnered with Nutriset and became the first US manufacturer of Plumpy’Nut. They now make one million fortified packets of Plumpy’Nut per day, which are distributed through UNICEF and the World Food Programme in 50 countries, including Yemen, Syria, Haiti and Somalia.
I visited the team in Rhode Island recently and was inspired by the brilliant people there to share their story further. They employ 70 people from more than 23 countries, who are driven by such a powerful purpose of helping children in the most inhospitable places on the planet.
Navyn and her team are having a huge positive impact, but child malnutrition remains a huge – and preventable – issue. Three million children under the age of five will die from malnutrition this year. You can donate to Edesia – one box = one life saved for $50 over at the website.