Monday, 27 June 2011

MALNUTRITION: Kraft goes all out to eradicate child malnutrition in Bangladesh & Indonesia

June 17, 2011
By teaching sustainable farming skills, creating micro enterprises and providing nutrition education, Kraft Foods is empowering women and thereby helping to eradicate child malnutrition in some of the neediest areas of Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Announced today at a World Economic Forum meeting in Jakarta, Kraft Foods’ USD3.8 million program in cooperation with Helen Keller International will help families in the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) region of Indonesia, where 58 percent of children under the age of five have stunted growth due to malnutrition, and in the Satkhira district of Bangladesh, where about half of the children under age the age of five are malnourished.
This program is the company’s first major investment as part of Project Laser Beam, a five-year, $50 million public-private partnership led by the U.N. World Food Programme that seeks to eradicate child malnutrition. Kraft Foods Foundation is a founding partner and one of the largest sponsors of Project Laser Beam, having committed $10 million to the partnership.
“We can end child malnutrition,” said Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO, Kraft Foods. “For our part, we’re employing innovative solutions and investments in sustainable farming, microenterprises and nutrition education to improve food security and provide economic opportunity for Indonesian and Bangladeshi families in need. By working together under Project Laser Beam, we help ensure that these efforts are sustainable and scalable.”
Specifically, Kraft Foods is funding 180 “centers of excellence” for farming in Indonesia and Bangladesh over the next four years. From these centers, thousands of women across NTT and Satkhira will learn sustainable farming practices and receive “start-your-own-farm” supplies (fertilizers, tools). The techniques to be taught will focus on low-cost, environmentally friendly approaches, such as the preparation and use of compost, non-chemical pest control, irrigation, crop rotation, mulching and live fencing.
The outcome of these “centers of excellence” will be the creation of thousands of homestead farms, which will enable local women to grow what they need to feed their families a nutritionally balanced diet. The program will also provide nutrition education and small business training to help these women sell their surplus crops to create greater economic opportunity for their families.
“We are delighted to partner with Kraft Foods to help reduce malnutrition in the people of rural Eastern Indonesia and Satkhira District in Bangladesh,” said Kathy Spahn, Helen Keller International’s President and CEO. “We have seen the profound impact Homestead Food Production has on the nutritional status of participants and are very excited to work with Kraft Foods to extend the reach of this successful program.”
Investing in sustainable agriculture has been a long-time priority for Kraft Foods. The company is collectively investing nearly USD100 million in a broad range of initiatives to improve the lives and livelihoods of more than 1 million farmers in the developing world.
In addition, Kraft Foods and the Kraft Foods Foundation have donated more than USD1 billion in cash and food to hunger-relief organizations over the past 25 years, including a separate USD3 million, three-year program with Save the Children to fight malnutrition in the Philippines and Indonesia. Through support of other partners like Feeding America, INMED Partnerships for Children, Charities Aid Federation and CARE, the company and the Kraft Foods Foundation support community programs on almost every continent.
Founded in 1915, Helen Keller International’s (HKI) mission is to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. HKI combats the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health and nutrition. The organization is known for sustainability, reliability, efficiency, and the highest level of technical expertise in preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition.

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