Peanut Power

Capping off the coverage of March as National Peanut Month, it seemed only fitting to mention Project Peanut Butter, a non-profit organization created by Dr. Mark Manary which has done extensive field trials in Malawi from 2001-2007 on fighting severe malnutrition using Plumpy’nut.

Plumpy’nut, Nutriset’s amazing Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) product, is based on a fortified peanut paste and offers an incredible 95% recovery rate for severely malnourished children. Project Peanut Butter operates the first local Plumpy’nut Plumpynut wrapperproduction facility in Africa and distributes this therapeutic food to malnourished Malawian children in more than 20 nutritional rehabilitation centers. Last year, the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition, the World Health Organization, & UNICEF issued a joint statement that recognized Project Peanut Butter’s treatment protocols, in conjunction with Plumpy’nut, as the most effective method by which to treat severely malnourished children globally.

It’s estimated that half of all child deaths worldwide are caused by malnutrition. In fact, Joe Stirt’s recent Memo to Nick Negroponte notes that only 3% of the world’s 20 million malnourished children have access to ready-to-use food. While Joe’s post unintentionally connects with one of my main concerns about MIT’s overzealous One Laptop Per Child project (that being, do starving children really need a $100 laptop?), I believe his main point is that the cost of providing critically-needed nourishment for 3rd world children is practically trivial.

Yup, just $15 (a tax-deductible donation) allows Project Peanut Butter to offer a Plumpy’nut-based 4-week nutritional recovery protocol to bring a critically-malnourished child back from the brink.

$15 worth of peanut paste to save a child’s life? Peanut power, indeed!

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