Groundbreaking Public-Private Partnership To End Child Malnutrition Welcomed By Government; Major New Companies Sign Up

Published on 13 June 2011

Jakarta – The Government of Indonesia today welcomed Project Laser Beam (PLB), a groundbreaking public-private partnership to end child malnutrition, as a critical initiative to help achieve their goal of ending child hunger and poverty. The announcement was made at the World Economic Forum East Asia, in Jakarta.

“The government of Indonesia is committed to lifting people out of poverty and giving every Indonesian child a healthy start in life,” said Secretary of the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare Dr. Indroyono Soesilo. “We welcome Project Laser Beam as a creative new pillar in the fight to end child malnutrition, which we believe will be a major contributor to our drive to attain the Millennium Development Goals.”

Project Laser Beam is a five-year, US$50 million project to eradicate child malnutrition, with an initial focus on Indonesia and Bangladesh. It takes a holistic approach by designing and implementing food, health, hygiene and other projects, all tailored to local conditions. Its multi-stakeholder model is designed to be scalable, sustainable and replicable.

The public/private partnership also welcomed today its first Indonesian private sector partners, PT. Tiga Pilar Sejahtera Tbk, GarudaFood and Indofood, as well as major international financial services group, Rabobank. They all join four founding partners -- Unilever, Kraft Foods, DSM and GAIN -- to help jump-start projects in Indonesia and Bangladesh.

“This is a landmark day for the partners of PLB as we see this initiative take on local wings here in Indonesia,” said Unilever Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman. “We believe in the power of PLB to change lives for good. These companies have set an example for the private sector and I would urge others in Indonesia and around the world to follow in their footsteps and support this powerful work.”

“Through the collective action of business, government and civil society, we can end child malnutrition. For our part, we’re employing innovative solutions and investments in agriculture, microenterprise 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,” said Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO, Kraft Foods. 

 “The vision of the public and private sectors joining with the UN to end child malnutrition is taking root,” said Nancy Roman, WFP Director of Public Policy, Communications and Private Partnerships. “The continued commitment of Unilever, Kraft Foods and others, and the addition of new local and international partners, demonstrate confidence that we are on the right track to challenge hunger in a new and innovative way.”

PLB’s work in NTT province is geared towards assisting the government of Indonesia reach Millennium Development Goal 1 – eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, and halving the number of people who suffer from hunger and under-nutrition by 2015.

Through PLB, WFP is working to provide interested private sector companies with an easy ‘in’ to the fight against hunger and malnutrition through a catalogue of projects which together address the broad range of factors – diet, health, hygiene, education, etc – which affect child nutrition.

Indonesia and Bangladesh both have unacceptably high rates of child malnutrition (Over 37 percent of under fives in Indonesia are chronically malnourished, over 48 percent in Bangladesh), but have a demonstrated commitment by government to tackle the problem. PLB’s initial target areas are NTT province in Indonesia and Satkhira district in Bangladesh.

For further information:
Candy Sihombing, WFP/Jakarta, Mob: +62 811 987 363