Two WFP beneficiaries in Bangladesh, where more than 2 million children are acutely malnourished.
(Copyright: WFP/Shehzad Noorani)
WFP has launched a groundbreaking programme which harnesses the power of leading multinational companies and focuses it on the job of ending hunger and malnutrition among children in the developing world.
Project Laser Beam
What is it?
An alliance between WFP, four companies and GAIN to end malnutrition in a given country.
By focusing their expertise and assets on eliminating the underlying causes of malnutrition, with an emphasis on nutrition, food security, health and hygiene in five priority areas:
- improving hygiene and parasite control
- increasing micronutrient intake
- improving complementary feeding practices
- improving treatment of acute malnutrition
- improving household food security
Over the next five years.
DSM, Heinz, Kraft Foods and Unilever – all of which are leading the nutritional agenda globally. Other companies will be encouraged to join as the project unfolds.
Initially in two pilot countries in Asia.
Clinton Global Initiative
The CGI is a non-partisan platform for action which provides the means through which global leaders from the private sector, NGOs and governments come up with innovative solutions to growing global challenges. The core of CGI’s mission is to enable specific and measurable commitments to action.
"The effects of under-nutrition are irreversible if a child under two does not get enough nutritious food. This makes it nearly criminal for the world not to act together."
WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. Read more
ROME -- Project Laser Beam (PLB), announced by former US President Bill Clinton at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, will combine the know-how of WFP with the business expertise of private sector partners, such as Unilever, DSM, Kraft Foods, Heinz and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Read news release
Over the course of the five-year initiative, WFP will raise a collective US$50 million from these and other companies.
“With the numbers of hungry going up, we need the private sector to join us in the fight,” said WFP’s Executive Director Josette Sheeran. “It’s a battle that’s too big for any one player but together we can find new ways to radically reduce malnutrition.”
As a first step, PLB will conduct an analysis in two Asian countries of crucial gaps in nutrition, food security and hygiene. Individual companies and UN agencies will determine which gaps they can fill, with an overall aim of producing a scalable, sustainable and replicable model for eradicating malnutrition.
WFP Executive Director Sheeran called on other prospective partners in the public and private sector to join the initiative and fight hunger. [9 ways business can help fight hunger]
Project Laser Beam: participating companies
Unilever, with operations in 100 countries and products available in 50 more, is one of the world's leading consumer goods companies with a portfolio of foods, home and personal care brands. Unilever became one of the first companies to establish a partnership with WFP in 2006 with a programme to improve nutrition and health of poor school children around the world. In 2008 it provided 16 million meals, feeding 76,000 children across 6 countries providing them with their primary meal of the day.
Royal DSM N.V. is a global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company. DSM’s innovations are helping to address the world’s most pressing issues such as climate change, energy consumption and the need for a balanced food supply. In April 2007, DSM and WFP joined forces to ensure the nutritional needs of WFP beneficiaries are met through the creation of cost-effective micronutrient interventions to improve the general food basket.
Kraft Foods is the world’s second largest food company. The company’s brands are present in 150 countries around the world. With focus on fighting hunger and promoting healthy lifestyles, Kraft Foods has supported WFP’s school meal programmes with cash donations since 2004.
The H.J. Heinz company, which produces packaged foods including sauces, snacks, meals and infant nutrition, teamed up with WFP in 2009 to support a study on nutritional needs in Bangladesh.
The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is an alliance driven by the vision of a world without malnutrition. GAIN mobilizes public-private partnerships and provides financial and technical support to deliver healthier foods and supplements to those people most at risk of malnutrition.