Edesia: Providing Essential Nutrition through Industry, Innovation, Research
April 1, 2014
Heidi Reed, Communications Manager, Edesia
In 2007, Navyn Salem, a stay-at-home mother of four young daughters, set out with a clear, yet ambitious goal to end the crisis of malnutrition for over 220 million children around the world. Her approach was straightforward: increase access to ready-to use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) like Plumpy’Nut® in developing countries, while building on the success of these peanut-based solutions to reach greater numbers of under-served, malnourished populations.
The first factory Navyn established was in Tanzania, the country where her father’s family had lived for three generations before he left to study abroad in the United States. She went on to establish Edesia – a non-profit organization and factory – in Providence, Rhode Island in early 2009. In March 2010, the first sachet of Plumpy’Nut® came off Edesia’s production line. Around the same time, USAID procured Nutributter® from Edesia through the International Food Relief Partnership (IFRP) program, solidifying its commitment to the prevention of childhood stunting worldwide; this program is now in its fifth year.
For UNICEF, the World Food Programme, USAID, SCMS, and other organizations dedicated to humanitarian relief and international development, Edesia produces a full range of ready-to-use foods (RUFs), as a licensee and partner of Nutriset in France. These products target the various stages of malnutrition in children under the age of five and also address the specific needs of malnourished or undernourished pregnant and lactating mothers. The RUFs are packaged in silver foil sachets and do not need the addition of water, refrigeration, and have a shelf life of two years. They are easy to dose, well tolerated, and ideal for home use.
While providing technical and logistical support to partner factories in Nutriset’s PlumpyField Network, such as in Haiti, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, and Sudan, Edesia produces RUFs to fulfill urgent supply gaps or to respond to humanitarian disasters, such as in Haiti, Pakistan, Syria, Mali, the Horn of Africa, and the Sahel. Since March 2010, Edesia has helped treat or prevent malnutrition for over two million malnourished children in 40 countries.
While producing high-quality RUFs, Edesia participates in research and development to optimize the use of RUFs; engages in advocacy to help build the political will to support targeted nutrition solutions for young children; and welcomes hundreds of visitors each year for educational tours of the factory that help raise public awareness about the crisis of childhood malnutrition that is affecting all of us.
With over 55 million children suffering from severe to moderate acute malnutrition, and 165 million more children stunted, without any hope of recovering their full physical and cognitive potential, we act now, because the cost of inaction is too great. We look forward to engaging with the Alliance to End Hunger partners, as we seek to find even more innovate ways to help reach as many malnourished children as possible.
For more information, please visit www.edesiaglobal.org.