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Fortifying Food, Fighting Malnutrition

Two billion people in developing and transitioning countries suffer from a lack of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals in their diet. Among the consequences of such micronutrient deficiency are night blindness, higher infant, child and maternal mortality as well as a weakened immune system. Contributing to the cycle is the fact that many people do not know they are malnourished, nor are they aware of the benefits of fortified foods. 

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Jen Ko's picture

Announcing the Nutrients for All Photo Campaign!

You are invited to participate in the Ashoka Changemakers Nutrients for All Photo Campaign!

As part of a broader movement to engage with all those who have a stake and a role in the nutrient economy, we are trying to find out what does it really mean for food to be "nutritious" and "nutrient-rich."

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David Aylward's picture

World Health Day 2013: “Modern” Food and High Blood Pressure

It won’t be long—in the near future you will be able to measure more than just the nutrient content of what you eat. More important, you will be able to measure the outcome: your nutritional status. 

And because you will be able to easily measure your vital signs, tracking them on your smart phone, you will be able to see your blood pressure going down week by week as your nutrition level rises, and you exercise more. What we eat fundamentally affects our health. 

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Logan Yonavjak's picture

Investing in Local Food Businesses for Community Health and Wealth

Did you know that more than a dozen studies (see Civic Economics and New Economics Foundation) have shown that every dollar spent at a locally owned business generates two-to-four times the economic development impacts as a dollar spent on an equivalent non-local business?

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Nutrients for All: A New Value Paradigm

When you think about what you eat, how do you decide?

Is it the taste; the number of calories; the flashy, but vague manufacturer health claims? Do you think about the nutritional value?

When a manufacturer processes food, how does he decide the method?

Is squeezing out the most profit by volume? Is preserving it for reaching the world’s most remote places? Is there profit in preserving or adding to a product’s nutritional value?

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A Deal with the Devil? Should health care advocates partner with “Big Food”?

The landscape of investments in nutrition is evolving. Globalization has enabled a variety of industry groups to actively engage in the business of nutrition in many emerging economies. As we think about developing sustainable nutrient economies for the BoP, it is important to consider how we should engage with the major corporate players in the food industry. The following blog describes the potential pros and cons of working with “Big Food” to address the growing burden of non-communicable diseases - and the balancing act these collaborations often require.

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Marzena Zukowska's picture

Nutrients: the connecting thread of global health

Is there a thread that connects the world’s gravest health issues, such as malnutrition, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, maternal health and undernourishment during pregnancy, and malaria? Can we draw a connection between malnutrition and heart disease, or should we be treating each health issue on a case-by-case basis?

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Chandrima Chatterjee's picture

Google+ Hangout #5 RECAP: Nutrients in the Health Sector - Emphasizing Wellness and Vitality

On March 21st,  Ashoka Changemakers hosted a game-changing Google+ Hangout discussion on how to creating a wellness society through nutrient flows. The fifth conversation included a diverse panel of participants that all tackled health from a unique perspective. The goal? To have them come together to the same table – or in our case, the same Hangout:

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Shaping a Market for Nutrient Economies – Part 2: The Value of Partnerships

By Lisa Smith, Writer for NextBillion

The forces of supply and demand generally keep a free market humming – but not always.

In Part 1 of this blog, we explored what happens when a thriving market doesn’t emerge for needed products, and how supply-side market interventions can help. But how do these interventions work in practice?

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Chloe de Roos Feinberg's picture

The Inextricable Link Between Health and Nutrition: How strategic design can change health behaviors

There are numerous links between health and nutrition, ones that are often overlooked in the broader conversation around delivering health care. Whether we are talking about creating a “Nutrients for All” world or “Transforming Health Systems,” the goal is to treat the problem within its natural environment.

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Chloe de Roos Feinberg's picture

The inextricable link between health and nutrition

 

There are numerous links between health and nutrition, ones that are often overlooked in the broader conversation around delivering health care. Whether we are talking about creating a “Nutrients for All” world or “Transforming Health Systems,” the goal is to treat the problem within its natural environment.

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Ashoka Changemakers “Health Ideas” Week: Transforming Global Health and Nutrition through Innovation

When it comes to health and wellness, everything is connected. The soil that yields a nation’s staple crop is tied to the growth and development of its youngest citizens. The policies passed at the government level ultimately determine who can, and cannot, afford to seek lifesaving treatments.  

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Kristie Wang's picture

Nutrients for All: Bioavailability, Food Fortification, and Insecurity

Good nutrition is about bioavailability.

It’s estimated that 35% of the global burden of disease could be eradicated by good nutrition. Despite food fortification initiatives and food aid, malnutrition remains an urgent problem worldwide, causing half of all child deaths, aggravating HIV and TB epidemics, and costing nations billions of dollars in health expenditures and lost human productivity.

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Marzena Zukowska's picture

Google+ Hangout #4: Food Processing and Fortification to Redefine the Value of Food

“Nutrients are the connecting thread between us, the food we eat, and the soil that it comes from, relating to nearly every aspect of life. The complex, and remarkable, thing about making nutrients available for human beings is it requires making nutrients available for all—for ecosystems, soils, farms, plants, animals, and ourselves.”

The food industry plays a pivotal role in making “Nutrients for All” a reality.

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Sara Qamar's picture

A Global Economic Opportunity in Rice

More than half of the world’s population depends on rice as a staple crop, including both consumers and growers. Because a world food shortage is looming, we need to do more than just diversify and increase crop output – we need to find a way to turn this dire problem into a global opportunity for economic prosperity, especially for small farm holders.

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Kristie Wang's picture

Nutrients for All: Agricultural Systems on the Brink

 

Nutrient-rich, healthy food comes from healthy soil and healthy farms. But unsustainable agricultural practices and poor land management around the world are decreasing the nutritional content of crops and threatening our ability to produce food.

99.7 percent of human food comes from cropland, but high-intensity, unsustainable farming is leading to rapid cropland loss. Globally, almost 10 million hectares (equivalent to the state of Indiana) of cropland are lost each year due to soil erosion.

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Bill Carter's picture

The Shift to a Nutrient Economy

In South Africa, a highly respected mining engineer is asked by his wife to come up with a solution to a grave problem she’s facing at the hospices at which she works – HIV/AIDS patients are wasting away in spite of the availability of ARVs and of high carbohydrate, high sugar food supplements available through foreign aid programs.

In Zambia, a conservationist is sent to solve a problem during the “season of hunger” – people are poaching elephants, because their own efforts to farm no longer produce the calories they need to feed themselves.

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Marzena Zukowska's picture

Google+ Hangout #2: Environment - the Foundation of the Nutrient Economy

This week’s discussion starts at the base of the ecological pyramid – the environmental ecosystem that drives nutrients from the soil to the food we eat, and ultimately, to our bodies.

The dire situation we’re facing is that these engines of nutrition have been polluted and indiscriminately stripped of their living soils and micronutrients. End result? The inability of our ecosystems to support the growing of nutritious food, or more broadly, the biological diversity that is crucial to sustaining life on the planet.

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Logan Yonavjak's picture

A New Business Model for Farmers in the Nutrient Economy

You could argue that a more comprehensive, albeit wonky, word for farmer is “nutrient steward.” Think about it. Farmers till soil, manage the flow of water, and do much more to grow the food and fiber products that our society needs to stay fed and clothed.

Unfortunately, most farmers only compensated for the end products, like corn and cotton. In reality, however, farmers are stewarding the nutrient processes that result in these end products, so why shouldn’t they be compensated for these services?

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Marzena Zukowska's picture

Google+ Hangout #1: Conversation with the “Nutrients for All” Gurus

 

Nutrients are the connecting thread between us, the food we eat, and the soil that it comes from, relating to nearly every aspect of life. The complex, and remarkable, thing about making nutrients available for human beings is it requires making nutrients available for all—for ecosystems, soils, farms, plants, animals, and ourselves.

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Kristie Wang's picture

Nutrients for All: Envisioning a New Food System

Being fully nourished is a must for good health, but did you know that the carrot you’re eating today probably has far fewer vitamins and minerals than a carrot grown 50 years ago? Soil depletion, as a result of unsustainable farming methods, is a primary culprit. Another cause of depleted nutrients has been the breeding of new high-yield fruit and vegetable varieties that are less able to manufacture or absorb nutrients from the soil.

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John Converse Townsend's picture

E HealthPoint transforms rural health care by providing access to clean water and affordable treatment

Editor's note: This post was written by Andrea Boston, freelance writer for Ashoka Changemakers.

For many families in developing countries, traveling to a nearby city for a doctor’s visit is expensive and inconvenient, and a lack of safe drinking water can make existing health conditions even worse. E HealthPoint provides low cost, clean water and quality medical treatment to rural Indian communities with a unique technology-based management and delivery system.

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John Converse Townsend's picture

Saúde Criança: A winning innovation for global family health

Editor's note: This post was written by Vanuza Ramos, a Brazilian journalist and collaborator with Ashoka Changemakers, with contributions from Andrea Boston.

The Saúde Criança Association (Children’s Health Association, or ASC), one of Brazil’s most robust health initiatives, has been recognized—not for the first time—for its clever and comprehensive approach to pediatric and family care.

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Changemakers Blogger's picture

Congratulations to the Winners of the Innovations for Health Competition!

After thoughtful deliberation, our expert panel of judges has selected three winners in the Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders competition, co-hosted by Ashoka Changemakers and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio.

 

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Changemakers Blogger's picture

Seize the Day for Change, One Minute at a Time

There are 1,440 minutes in a day; each minute we have is another opportunity for change. The 1440 Foundation was founded on the principle that we can improve the world—one person, one connection, and one minute at a time. The foundation invests in projects and programs that bring the power of self-awareness and authentic relationship skills to education, wellness, and the workplace. Ultimately, the foundation seeks to enable everyone to become a positive contributor to our world.

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Changemakers Blogger's picture

#StartEmpathy: Recap of the March 20 Twitter-based #SocEntChat

Empathy is one of the most important skills that anyone can learn in today’s global society. It is more than just awareness and concern, it’s about cultural sensitivity and conflict resolution.

It’s about the ability to communicate effectively and understand the motivations of others. Empathy is about standing up, not standing by. What better way to change the world than by making sure tomorrow’s leaders master empathy today?

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Changemakers Blogger's picture

Why Empathy Belongs in a Teacher's Toolbox

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of guest posts looking at the topic of empathy and education. Using expert commentary from a variety of perspectives, we hope to gain insight and deepen dialogue about the topic.

Our first guest post comes from Nora Cobo, Center for Inspired Teaching. Center for Inspired Teaching was founded by Ashoka Fellow Aleta Margolis, and is a Network Partner in the Activating Empathy competition, which closes this coming Friday, March 30.

When academic achievement is measured only by standardized tests, student success is too simply defined by increasing test scores. Center for Inspired Teaching is working to change this narrow conception by giving empathy a prominent place in a teacher's toolbox.

While test-based assessments are essential, they reflect only one type of data and one kind of skill that students need. Schools must also focus on students’ social-emotional growth in order to create sound learning environments. Such settings help students develop interpersonal competence and improve short- and long-term academic and personal outcomes.

Center for Inspired Teaching partners with teachers to change the school experience for students to include these critical skills. Our professional development programs encourage teachers to rethink their beliefs about how learners learn and how classrooms should function. Through a physical, intellectual, and emotional process, teachers navigate the art of teaching and learn to empathize with their students’ experiences in an energetic and safe environment:

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Changemakers Blogger's picture

Ashoka Changemakers' #SocEntSummit: A Summary

To raise the curtain on International Women’s Day on March 6, Ashoka Changemakers hosted a 12-hour Twitter-based social entrepreneurship summit that attracted more than 700 participants in six thematic sessions, engaging six moderating expert organizations and more than 20 experts across the globe. It was the first in the series of large-scale, real-time, virtual events, and participants from all over the world shared their thoughts by tweeting with the hashtags #SocEntSummit and #ChangemakeHERS on Twitter.

Women social entrepreneurs, organizations working in the area of women’s development, professionals, and students participated in the online forum, tweeting more than 2,500 messages. An analysis of the last 1,500 tweets showed that the summit generated more than 24 million impressions!

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John Converse Townsend's picture

Meet the Innovations for Health Competition Finalists!

Nearly 400 entrepreneurs, health care professionals, and community members from 73 countries submitted their health care solutions to the Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders competition hosted by Ashoka Changemakers and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio.

Today, 15 competition finalists have been identified as outlining the most promising solutions. The Innovations for Health finalists are designed to advance high quality health and well-being through low-cost interventions and personalized patient-centered care, and they have the potential to be applied to other countries.

The finalists provide a glimpse of the future of border-crossing innovation:

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Changemakers Blogger's picture

Google+ Hangout on Innovations for Health: Early Entry Award Winners

The entry phase of the Innovations for Health competition, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio, may be over, but our conversations with innovators have already begun.

As our judges select the three winners of the competition (to be announced on April 16th) we would like to give you an opportunity to better know our early entry winners.

Our team spoke with the founders of Beyond Borders (Asher Hasan) and the Centre for Patient Leadership (David Gilbert and Mark Doughty). You can watch our interesting conversation below:

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Changemakers Blogger's picture

Join us on March 20, 2012 for Ashoka Changemakers' Asia #SocEntChat about Activating Empathy!

Save the date! Ashoka Changemakers® will host a #SocEntChat for Asian audiences on Activating Empathy – Transforming Schools to Teach What Matters on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. IST (@ Indian Standard Time)  / 4:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. EST.

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John Converse Townsend's picture

Get to know the Activating Empathy Early Entry Award Winners

Ashoka’s New Year’s resolution for 2012 was more ambitious than most. We’re not cutting back on the caffeine, eating healthier, or exercising more frequently. But we resolved to make 2012 the year to jumpstart a worldwide movement for empathy, made official with the launch of the global Activating Empathy: Transforming Schools To Teach What Matters competition.

Three months later, we are seeing this resolution become a reality. Teachers, parents, students, and innovators have joined this effort to ensure that all children master empathy, a critical skill in today’s rapidly changing world. The competition has attracted more than 160 entries and nearly 400 nominations for ideas that create better communities, societies, organizations, companies, and institutions.

There is still time to get involved; the deadline for solutions isn’t until 5:00 p.m. (ET) on March 30. More than $110,000 in cash and in-kind prizes are still available to entrants!

In the meantime, we have decided to recognize a handful of our favorite solutions to date: the Activating Empathy Early Entry Award Winners:

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Changemakers Blogger's picture

The Big Picture of Women’s Empowerment Worldwide

 

Today is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of women’s equality, contributions, and achievements. In honor of this century-old tribute, we asked some of Changemakers’ most exciting women’s-centered initiatives to submit a single image that captures the power of their work.
 
Each organization presented photographs showcasing women using the one tool or service that has helped them create economic and social freedom within their communities. The following images document change in action, and tell the story of women’s empowerment worldwide.
 
Click on an image below to learn the story behind the female entrepreneur (and to find out what object they couldn't work without):
 

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Changemakers Blogger's picture

#SocEntSummit titled #ChangemakeHERS: a new Twitter forum for women social entrepreneurs

ChangemakeHER Banner

As a curtain raiser to International Women’s Day on March 08, 2012, Ashoka Changemakers is hosting a ­­­­Twitter-based #SocEntSummit titled #ChangemakeHERS, on March 06, 2012 between 12 noon to 12 midnight IST /1:30am to 1:30pm EST. Save the date and spread the word! Hope to see you there.

Ashoka Changemakers will celebrate International Women’s Day 2012 a bit differently this year with the launch of #SocEntSummit on Twitter, the first event of its kind. This Twitter-based event—recognized, tracked and followed with the hashtag #ChangemakeHERS—will celebrate womanhood by cheering some of the most outstanding women social entrepreneurs from all over the world. The #SocEntSummit will also kick-off Changemakers’ second annual HERS Campaign, which will be hosted in a richer, more interactive content space that will be introduced end of this month on Changemakers.com.

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Could Lady Gaga be the most popular spokesperson for the empathy movement?

Editor's note: This post was written by Ashoka Changemakers' Abby Chroman.

Who has a voice loud enough to amplify the message of a movement, a brand strong enough to enlist millions of participants, and the defiant will to try? Could be Lady Gaga.

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John Converse Townsend's picture

Q&A with Darren Bunton, Human Rights Activist

By now you’ve definitely spotted it: Changemakers is changing. One of the most visible developments is changeshops, an improved way to help build the world of social good. Changeshops is still a very young network, but we’re already seeing signs of its potential. As the community grows, we’re asking a few top users to share the exciting projects popping up.

Today Darren Bunton, executive director and chairman of Eway Foundation, talks about growing the foundation’s Ethical Citizen Media project, the difference between Facebook and Twitter and changeshops, and keeping in touch with innovators all over the world.

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Evagelia Emily Tavoulareas's picture

#innovatehealth Interview Series: Richard Bartlett on the Gold Standard for Health Innovation

If you had to guess, what country would you say is the world leader in health innovation? According to Richard Bartlett, it’s India — thanks to a flexible regulatory environment, a government that is open to partnerships, and a dramatic need for low-cost health care options.

As he shares in this #innovatehealth interview, Rwanda and Kenya are also at the top of his list:

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The Internet: a new paradigm in the right to communicate

Editor's note: This article was written by Vanuza Ramos, contributing journalist for Ashoka Changemakers.

Almost a month after the violent eviction of thousands of poor residents from their homes in a settlement in Brazil, an event popularly known as the “massacre of Pinheirinho,” many net-izens continue to discuss the repercussions of this controversial and symbolic event. Social networks, blogs, and other independent media are reporting cases of violence and abuse that are often obscured by the mainstream media, signifying a pivotal change in communications created by virtual media.

The fact that the Internet has established itself as a powerful force for ensuring the right of communication is nothing new. What was not anticipated is that it would be used in an entrepreneurial way to disseminate knowledge, information and to protect fundamental rights to life—by using it socially. 

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John Converse Townsend's picture

Q&A with Jacquie Cutts, Maternal and Child Health Champion

Changemakers is changing. Through the new changeshops platform, we now offer improved ways to help build the world of social good. Changeshops users will be able to tell the online community what they need to grow their projects; search for collaborators, innovators, and competitions in the field; and access funding opportunities for world-changing ideas.

The changeshops community is growing each day. To get a preview of what might be in store, Changemakers is catching up with a few of the platform’s top users.

Today, Changemakers talked (change)shop with Jacquie Cutts, the founder, president, and CEO of Safe Mothers, Safe Babies, a nonprofit organization working to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in Uganda.

Cutts has been a long-time supporter of participatory development and has worked to help rural communities understand maternal and child health from the local perspective, in addition to supporting more innovative health care initiatives like motorcycle ambulance programs which reduce barriers to accessing care.

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