Malnutrition is a Business Issue, Explain Maniza and Alok

Podcast Interview

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Why is Malnutrition a business issue? The link between malnutrition and poverty might be an obvious one. The links between malnutrition and business are perhaps less so. During this conversation we are going to deep dive into both, whilst looking at the intersections between nutrition, climate change, conflict and communicable disease.

As the world braces for some of the most extreme food shortages seen in generations – we are going to talk hunger and malnutrition and why everyone, everywhere should be sitting up and engaging on this deeply sad topic.

During this podcast hear from two of our world’s experts on childhood development and nutrition. Maniza Ntekim and Dr. Alok Ranjan.

Maniza leads the Early Childhood Development East and Southern Africa initiative at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Previously she’s served as a regional advisor for UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, overseeing the early childhood development programmes.

Alok is the Director of Programmes and Investments for The Power of Nutrition. He is a medical doctor with a post-graduate degree in Community Medicine. Prior to The Power of Nutrition, he led the Nutrition program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and South Asia.

“What I have realised over my career is that we need to work across multiple levels of deprivation. Working in silos will not give us long term sustainable impact. The focus of Business Fights Poverty belief in the power of business to help in the lives, livelihoods and learning of those most vulnerable really resonates with The Power of Nutrition’s vision – where we feel every child must have the nutrition to reach their full potential.” Explains Alok.

Together they warn about the world sleep walking into the global nutrition crisis and that every 60 seconds a child is becoming severely malnourished and almost 50 million people are hungry. They are determined that business needs to step up – that malnutrition is a business issue, without healthy people, businesses cannot succeed.

Maniza expounds: “This is a not just a charity issue, it’s a matter of business survival. Businesses need skilled human capital to grow, to be competitive and to be productive. The basis of a good business is human capital. We know that human capital is developed in the early stages of life; 80% per cent of the human brain is developed by the age of three. If a significant proportion of the population within which you hire is poorly nourished and not had the chance to be developmentally on track that’s critical for your business.”

Maniza and Alok are deeply practical and pragmatic in how we can collectively address malnutrition and hunger and what businesses in particular can do about it. Together they make the business case for investing in good food – from healthy workforces to higher cognitive performances. Listen in to hear how to gather back in the 11% GDP which is currently being lost in Africa and Asia due to malnutrition.



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