Our team included Radha Muthiah, Executive Director of the Global Alliance of Clean Cookstoves, Karin Lapping, Senior Nutritionist with Save the Children, Adrianna Lolgalbo, Head of the Future Fortified Campaign for the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and Kelly Pugliano, Founder of EatPicks.com.
The nutrition issue can seem complex, but there are some innovative and simple solutions like the home nutrition packet featured by Future Fortified. It’s a small packet filled with up to 15 vitamins and minerals that can be added to foods prepared at home. What’s great is these products are so low cost — as little as 3 cents a packet. They are affordable for many families and ultimately a sustainable approach to improving nutrition for those who need it most.
Diversity of food sources is also part of the solution. Save the Children helps farming families grow kitchen gardens that they can pick from even when it’s not harvest time. Green leafy vegetables are a great way to increase essential micronutrients in a child’s diet. They are also helping families raise goats so they have milk readily available. Animal protein is an important way to fight stunting (chronic malnutrition).
Another obstacle is how the food is cooked. Every day, billions of people, the vast majority of them women, gather wood, coal, and other materials to build open fires over which to cook meals for their families. In addition to the time it takes to collect these fuel sources, this cooking method exposes the families to deadly fumes that kill 2 million people every year—mostly women and children. The diseases and ailments range from pneumonia, cancers, heart and lung disease and burns.
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves aims to ensure options for more efficient and cleaner burning stoves that will reduce the number of trips mothers have to make to collect wood to build fires. These new types of stoves, usually manufactured locally to regional taste and preference, use dramatically less fuel and are much safer.
Bringing it Close to Home
We asked Kelly PugIiano, a well-regarded food blogger and photographer, to help us connect these issues to what Americans currently are focused on where food and cooking are concerned.
“More and more Americans are beginning to pay more attention to where the food they put on the family table is grown or produced. They are beginning to make choices that impact the way food is farmed, shipped and consumed.”
We can build on this as we communicate the idea of just how precious food is, and how much food we waste. As we increase our awareness of food choices, others need options just to have healthy food and cooking choices in the first place.
“Every family deserves nutrition choices to help them lead healthy lives.” ~ Susannah
Radha’s hope is that the mother who wants a better, cleaner, more efficient cookstove can get one today, has access to financing to buy one, and continues to have options for better products in the years to come.
Adrianna concluded, “food is actually something people access every single day so we need to ensure good, nutritious foods and products are available where people are, every single day, and at a price they can afford.”
The Take Action Challenge:
Go to www.cleancookstoves.org, like them on Facebook or follow on Twitter to learn more. Too few people know about this “silent killer.” This story is a tragic one. We have the solutions today to address this problem. Spread the word in your communities!
Visit www.everybeatmatters.org to download One Republic’s song “Feel Again” recorded against a backdrop of children’s recorded heartbeats. Like them on Facebook, follow on Twitter or go to Save the Children to raise awareness about what’s needed to end preventable child deaths.
At www.futurefortified.org you can learn more about global nutrition issues, particularly the causes and solutions for child stunting and its long-term impact. Get involved by liking the campaign on Facebook, following on Twitter and donating micro nutrient packs to a community in need of a boost!
Image credit: Baby heartbeat: Save the Children