Royal DSM, the global life sciences and materials sciences company, and World Vision, a global development organization, announce an ambitious partnership to nourish the world's most vulnerable children. By 2016, the DSM–World Vision partnership aims to contribute to the reduction of the 165 million children under age 5 across the globe who are stunted. The collaboration will see both organizations jointly leverage their expertise, resources and reach in order to address undernutrition—the root cause of stunting and one-third of preventable child deaths.
The partnership between DSM and World Vision will focus on fortifying staple foods like maize, wheat and rice with essential micronutrients. Food fortification has been recognized by economists and health experts as one of the safest and most cost-effective ways to improve the nutrition of whole populations.
"As the world's leading producer of vitamins and other micronutrients we have a clear responsibility to help solve the globe's most solvable problem: hidden hunger. Our partnership with World Vision will help provide nourishment to millions of vulnerable children. We will begin our work together in Tanzania, where we will fortify flour and build local capacity and understanding to provide genuinely sustainable solutions," says Royal DSM's managing board member, Stephan Tanda.
The flagship of the partnership is the Miller's Pride project in Tanzania's Dar es Salaam. This program will fortify maize flour with essential micronutrients, reaching a population of millions. In addition to the fortification, DSM and World Vision will work with the millers to build business expertise, improve food safety and increase markets and profits for the millers.
Without adequate nutrition in the 1,000 days between a woman's pregnancy and her child's second birthday, the damage to that child's physical and mental development is largely irreversible. Currently one-third of children under-five in developing countries suffer stunting.
"We believe our unique partnership with DSM will save lives, while improving children's educational achievement and future earning potential," says World Vision International President Kevin Jenkins. "Evidence shows nutrition is the best investment we can make to achieve lasting progress in global health and development."
The partnership will also see the organizations working to ensure nutrition for mothers and children is high on the agenda of global decision makers.
"As an organization working with vulnerable children in nearly 100 countries, we have learned poverty is complicated, but proper nutrition is a master-key that unlocks many of the chains," says Kevin Jenkins. "As the world strives to define targets to follow the Millennium Development Goals, we, DSM and our partners in the Scaling Up Nutrition movement are emphasizing that well-nourished children are more robust, do better at school, earn higher incomes and raise healthier children of their own."
The partnership is to be signed by Kevin Jenkins and Stephan Tanda on Thursday, May 23, at a side event of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
The side event, called New Partnerships for Nutrition, will explore the complementary roles of government, civil society and business in ensuring that children and women have access to better nutrition. Panelists include the World Health Organization's Director of Nutrition for Health and Development, Francesco Branca; The Netherland's Special Envoy Food and Nutrition Security for Development, Paulus Verschuren; Tanzania's Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi; and Director of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, Dr. Carole Presern.