The Sahel region of Africa is vast, spanning nine countries—Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal. In the attached video, Fabienne Pompey, of the World Food Programme, reminds us that there are five million children younger than five in the region who urgently need help recovering from severe malnutrition.
No single organization can reach all five million children alone, but we can each do our part. Your donations to Edesia help us to send more supplies of Plumpy'Nut and Plumpy'Sup to our humanitarian partners, which means more children can be reached.
Here is an update on how many cartons we have shipped to the Sahel region since the start of 2014:
All of this adds up to Edesia manufacturing and shipping nutritious food aid to 283,540 children in the Sahel region.
Thank you so much for your support, which makes our efforts on behalf of these children all the more possible.
"We tell the children we're cooking dinner, but actually we're just boiling leaves. Eventually they fall asleep with an empty stomach. We have to lie to them to keep our reserves going."
This heart-wrenching quote is from a mother living in the Sahel. Her voice can be heard in the video link I have posted below. It truly illustrates the dire conditions in the Sahel, where the UN estimates that almost 5 million children are expected to become moderately or severely malnourished in 2014.
According to the latest report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the rains in late 2013 were not nearly enough to sustain the crops needed to nourish millions of people living in the Sahel. Mali is showing the greatest need for help, closely followed by Chad, and then Niger.
UN humanitarian organizations like UNICEF and the World Food Programme are therefore in desperate need of Plumpy'Nut and Plumpy'Sup, the products we make here our Providence, Rhode Island factory to treat severe and moderate acute malnutrition in children under the age of five.
In the past few months Edesia has shipped out over 25,000 boxes of Plumpy'Nut to UNICEF in the Sahel region (Burkina Faso and Chad), enough to potentially treat 25,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. We know it's not nearly enough to meet the incredible need, but that doesn't stop us from trying to do as much as we can.
Thank you so much for your ongoing support, which helps us to send as many boxes as possible to the children of the Sahel.
I just got back from a week in Burkina Faso in the Sahel region of Africa, where severe acute malnutrition is common in young children. It was a rare opportunity for me to see how our products, made here in Rhode Island, are making a difference to the lives of children so far away in a UNICEF-supported clinic. When we ship out our boxes, we can only imagine the children who are receiving them .... but this time, I got to actually see children holding our red and white sachets in their hands.
At a nutrition clinic on the outskirts of Ougadougou, the nation's capital city, I was introduced to a group of mothers who had walked for miles in flip flops to get there with their baby or twin babies on their backs. I learned that the mothers had given Plumpy'Nut the nickname of "Chocolate" in their language. When asked what they thought of Plumpy'Nut, they all expressed with great big smiles how much their children love the taste.
These babies were no longer skin and bones but happy and healthy because their Plumpy'Nut treatments were well underway. The clinic also offers education for the mothers about how to provide better nutrition for the future.
There is such magic in good nutrition at the time when it's needed most. I was especially in awe of the health workers from this clinic who had gone out into the community to locate the malnourished children in the first place. They told me what a challenge it can be to convince a mother to make the long trek to get nutritional support. Very often, they find a father who is ashamed that he has not been able to fully provide for his family, so he does not want his wife and child to go. But when the health worker shows the parents the Plumpy'Nut and lets their child have some, they see how the clinic has something special to offer and they come to get more.
This Thanksgiving, we are thankful to you for making this work of helping children like the ones I met in Burkina Faso all the more possible.
According to a recent report from the Food and Agriculture Organization, it's the lean season in the Sahel region, which means severe food insecurity for over 10.3 million people. Of this great and troubling number, over 1.4 million children are in danger of becoming severely malnourished. I am sending a link so that you can be as informed as possible about the situation.
The severely malnourished children affected by the lean season will likley need a ready-to-use-therapeutic food like Plumpy'Nut to keep their lives and health. This is why our factory continues to operate 20 hours a day to make and ship thousands of boxes of Plumpy'Nut and Plumpy'Sup (similar to Plumpy'Nut, but treats moderate acute malnutrition) to countries in this vast region, such as Chad, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Cameroon.
Thank you so much for your continued support of this important cause of helping malnourish children get through this difficult time.
In today's update I wanted to share with you a new UNICEF video that highlights our PlumpyField partner in Niger, STA, and how the Plumpy'Nut they make is having a tremendous impact locally. STA, like us, manufactures Plumpy'Nut in order to reverse the effects of severe acute malnutrition in children under the age of five. As you will see in this video, their impact in reducing child malnutrition rates in Niger cannot be understated.
There are many things that I enjoyed about this video, including that our Executive Director, Navyn Salem, was in Niger while it was being filmed, but most of all, I loved watching a little boy named Hassan eat Plumpy'Nut by the handful and hearing his mother say:
"I'm so happy because I can see my child getting stronger and soon he will be running."
Yes, I thought to myself, this says it all, so simply and so beautifully: "soon he will be running." Because of STA's work, and our work in Rhode Island, and the work of 11 other PlumpyField factories around the world, soon, so many more children will be running toward their mothers' arms and even farther toward their futures.
Since Edesia started making Plumpy'Nut in March 2010, we have delivered about 250,000 boxes of Plumpy'Nut - enough to potentially fully treat 250,000 children diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition - to our humanitarian partners. Most recently we have shipped Plumpy'Nut to Burkina Faso and Chad, where the need is great.
Thank you again for generously supporting our Global Giving project and our ongoing efforts to get more children and families running again throughout the Sahel.
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