Message to Davos: Nourishing People Is An Investment

As business and government leaders met last week in the Swiss town of Davos to discuss global issues including poverty, growth and food security, WFP took the opportunity to talk to many of them about how the private sector can help fight hunger in innovative and concrete ways. Go to blog

DAVOS  –  WFP explored ways to forge innovative hunger-fighting partnerships with the private sector in Davos last week through a series of meetings and debates with CEOs, politicians and aid experts. 

Executive Director Josette Sheeran led a WFP delegation at the five-day meeting, hosting discussions with  government and business leaders in WFP’s tent, which was funded by partner TNT and which, as every, was transformed into an African schoolroom.

WFP at Davos - the blog

world eceonomic forum logoIf you want to find out about the events that WFP ran at Davos to engage leaders in the fight against hunger, visit WFP's Davos 2011 blog

Private partners: find out who is helping WFP and how. 

Project Laser Beam: companies focusing on malnutrition. 

Focus on women: learn about WFP, women and the Women for Women campaign. 

Perry Yeatman is Senior Vice President of Kraft. Why is she in Davos this week? Find out here

She chaired a plenary session on Friday on the subject of ‘raising healthy children’.  Participants included Dr. Margaret Chan, head of the World Health Organization; Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of BMG Foundation; Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola; Lars Sorensen, President and CEO of Novo, Nordisk; and Bono, singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE.

“The message underpinning all of WFP’s activities at Davos was that nourishing the world’s hungry, especially the millions of children at risk from malnutrition and the mothers that care for them, is an investment in the next generation,” said Nancy Roman, WFP’s Director of Communications and Private-Sector Partnerships.  

Right food, right time

Scientists now know that the right food at the right time – especially in the first 1,000 days of life – is crucial. In those first days, a child receives nourishment in her mother’s womb. She depends on her mother’s milk. Then she needs solid foods that will help her develop strong, healthy bones to be able to take her first steps. 

This was expected to be a strong theme on Friday as 15 women leaders met in the WFP tent to discuss how women in the developed world can help women in poor countries to break the cycle of poverty and hunger.

Private-sector energy

Babies and infants who suffer from malnutrition never quite catch up. They don’t grow well, are more likely to get sick, have trouble concentrating in school, and they may earn less as adults. This harsh truth is behind a new partnership called Project Laser Beam, which is poised to focus private sector energy on the goal of cutting child malnutrition, starting in Indonesia and Bangladesh.

WFP has a strong record in harnessing the desire and potential of companies to help fight global hunger, and partners such as TNT, DSM, Unilever have already made crucial contributions of funds and expertise. 

In 2010, WFP’s private sector partners helped raise more than 70 million dollars for food relief operations after the earthquake in Haiti. The year saw traditional government donations making way for private-sector donations which moved up the ranks to become the sixth largest funding source to WFP.