WFP is at the World Economic Forum East Asia to further our vital relationships with big business and government, and secure the kind of support than can make a real difference in the fight to end child malnutrition. At the heart of our work with the private sector in this area is Project Laser Beam, a multi-stakeholder partnership to help governments give every child the healthy future they deserve. We’ll have some exciting new developments in PLB to announce, and plenty more from one of the most dynamic forums anywhere.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman explains why PLB is an important new tool to address child under-nutrition.
Pierre van Hedel, Managing Director of the Rabobank Nederland Foundation, explains why the Dutch financial services company has decided to join the PLB family.
Important studies are underway to explore the availability and effectiveness of local foods in the production of specialised ‘smart’ nutritious products for young children under Project Laser Beam – both in Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Elsewhere in Asia, an innovative new food product made in Pakistan is already helping protect the youngest victims of the catastrophic 2010 floods against malnutrition. Made from locally grown chickpeas, Wawa Mum shows that supplying technical knowhow can be the key to finding local solutions to malnutrition.
Wawa Mum is one of a growing number of specialised nutrition products designed to meet the nutritional needs of children in times of crisis. Read more about Wawa Mum here.
Monica Marshall - Head of Global Private Partnerships for WFP on why Project Laser Beam is a great entry point for companies committed to make a difference in the lives of young children.
WFP met Theo Hadinata during a meeting on the sidelines of WEF in Jakarta. As you can see in this video, he is passionate about finding the best possible opportunities to help small-scale farmers truly thrive. A vibrant small-scale farming sector is good news for the hungry poor.
Bangladesh has one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world, with 43 percent of under-fives stunted (chronically malnourished). Particularly in rural areas, children’s diets are woefully short of essential micronutrients. A product known as the Pushti Packet is already available, but WFP is working with GAIN to improve its recipe to make it more effective in the prevention and reduction of child malnutrition.
Research and development is ongoing, and WFP is working with internationally renowned Bangladeshi institute ICDDRB in this process. Pilot batches from local manufacturers must be tested for shelf-life and acceptability amongst mothers and their children. The aim is to produce at least three recipes, which will then be tested for their efficacy and effectiveness for preventing malnutrition.
It is intended that the developed product would be available for use by the Government of Bangladesh, WFP, or any other credible organisation whose objectives are to prevent child malnutrition.
In one of our Facebook posts in the run-up to WEF, we asked you how big business could best play a part in fighting hunger around the world. The responses were fascinating, and have prompted discussions here in Jakarta. Here are a few of the ideas that came our way –
Rose Verdurmen: By using their knowledge and skills businesses can help. Map out local needs and possible gaps and find the private sector partners that could help bridging the gap.
Baco Ve: Put some publicity in the added value of businesses being socially responsible so that the consumers know if they bought locally and paid fair prices. ..Esp. like if they supported women entrepreneurs, etc. Maybe be even tax cuts for those businesses. I think the consumers need to play a bigger part, so let’s let them know what companies are doing.
Korin Metz : Setting up a donation opportunity for employees that the business offers to match up to a certain amount is a good way to help
Thanks for being part of this important conversation. If you want to add your own comments, please go to www.facebook.com/WorldFoodProgramme
Nancy Roman, Director of Public Policy, Communication and Private Partnership explains why it's important for WFP to engage with big business at the World Economic Forum East Asia in Jakarta.