As it turns out, severe malnutrition contributes to nearly half of all deaths in children under five, and stunts the growth of one in three children in developing countries. Malnutrition and stunting not only “can kill opportunities in life for a child,” describes UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, but can also “kill opportunities for development of a nation.”
Even though it looks like a giant ketchup packet, it’s actually a ready-to-use therapeutic food a mother can give her starving child, that’s a tasty blend of peanut butter, powdered milk, vitamins, and sugar – eaten straight from the packet.
“It’s real easy, it’s simple,” says Mark, plus “kids love peanut butter.”
At around 500 calories per packet, three servings a day of this powerful peanut paste, for six to eight weeks can bring a child back from the brink of starvation. And to a desperate mother and her child, that means everything.
A challenge of this magnitude requires an army of partners to buy and distribute the packets quickly and efficiently all over the world.
In 2012, for example, MANA partnered with USAID to manufacture 500 metric tons of the fortified peanut butter, which USAID then delivered to 30,000 children in need in several countries from the Horn of Africa to Central America.
But this was only the beginning.
MANA packets have been delivered to women and children in over two dozen countries, and recent contracts with USAID and UNICEF will reach over 2 million children in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighboring countries this spring.
“This is not charity,” says Mark, “this is strategic.”
MANA’s 30,000 square foot facility in Fitzgerald, Georgia is one of the largest RUTF production facilities in the world, capable of turning out as many as 25,000 packets per hour. And around 35 jobs have been created right in the heart of Georgia’s peanut country.
From MANA’s headquarters right outside Charlotte, North Carolina, Mark and his team collaborate with area businesses to save lives overseas and strengthen the local economy.
In a recent Op Ed in The Charlotte Observer, Mark goes on to explain why “doing well by doing good” is his new mantra for success. He adds, “doing good” is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also clearly within our national security and economic interests” given the developing world is the destination of half of all U.S. exports.
Global hunger and malnutrition is too big to solve alone, but thanks to Mark’s big dream and the scope and reach of his partners, MANA is chipping away at it one life at a time.
The USGLC is proud to include MANA Nutrition in our Innovations in Smart Power Campaign – sponsored by Coca-Cola, Carlson Hotels, Land O’Lakes, and PYXERA – which looks at the unique way the government, NGOs, development professionals, and businesses are working together to create real solutions for eradicating poverty, for advancing our security, and for advancing our economic interest.