Blog

Debunking the Myths behind Food Fortification

In a world of rising food prices, the majority of low-income people simply cannot access enough micronutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy to meet their dietary needs. It has been widely documented that families with reduced purchasing power substitute expensive nutritious foods with cheaper, less nutritious, but “stomach-filling” foods. This approach, practiced over a long period of time, leads to malnutrition.

Share this post

Chandrima Chatterjee's picture

Stopping Micronutrient Deficiencies: Q&A with GAIN’s Rebecca Spohrer on Food Fortification

Micronutrient deficiency is one of the most common public health problems in developing countries. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies account for about 10% of the global health burden with the most prominent ones including iron, vitamin A, iodine, zinc and folic acid.

Share this post

Kristie Wang's picture

Nutrients for All Competition Open for Entries!

Ashoka’s Nutrients for All and Ashoka Changemakers are excited to launch Nutrients for All: Vitality for People and the Planet, a new competition in search of your innovative solutions that will ensure the availability of nutrients for healthy, natural ecosystems, farms, food, and people.

Share this post

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. 

Share this post

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."

Share this post

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. 

Share this post

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?

Share this post

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?

Share this post

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.

Share this post

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?

Share this post

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:

Share this post

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?

Share this post

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.

Share this post

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.

Share this post

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.  

Share this post

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.

Share this post

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.

Share this post

Logan Yonavjak's picture

How a Nutrient Economy Can Save Our Farmers, Our Health and Our Environment

Editor's Note: This article was orginally published in Forbes.comLogan Yonavjak (@Loganyon) explains the potential benefits of a new system of food production—a new economy—in which nutrients are viewed as currency.

Share this post

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.

<--break->

Share this post

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.

Share this post

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.

Share this post

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.

Share this post

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?

Share this post

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.

Share this post

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.

Share this post

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.

Share this post

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.

Share this post

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.

 

Share this post

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.

Share this post

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?

Share this post

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:

Share this post

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!

Share this post

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:

Share this post

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:

Share this post

Pages