Thursday, October 28, 2010

Plumpynut: Funny Name, Serious Results

Last week, Kate and I visited the Edesia factory in Providence, RI- home of Plumpynut, a line of products that treat and prevent malnutrition for over 100,000 children. We met with Marie Wisecup, Communications Manager, and got a chance to tour the Edesia building to see how Plumpynut products are made. YUGA knows that access to food and adequate nutrition is a basic right according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and organizations in RI are helping to ensure that right!

While there, Kate and I learned that there are 195 million undernourished children in our world. Every day, 16,000 children die because of a lack of food and adequate nutrition. Edesia works to treat malnutrition, as well as prevent malnutrition among vulnerable children ages 6-24 months. The main ingredients are simple: peanuts, sugar, vegetable oil, and milk; but the products have a huge impact. They require no preparation or refrigeration, have a two-year shelf life, and are easy to eat. Main purchasers of Edesia’s products include UNICEF, World Food Program, Doctors Without Borders, and the Clinton Foundation.

Edesia also actively hires immigrants and refugees through the International Institute of Rhode Island. This not only provides work for newly arrived refugees, but often connects them to their homes and past. Nine years ago, Andrew Kamara, Edesia’s Supply Chain Supervisor, arrived in the United States. Having lived several years in a refugee camp in Western Africa, he now produces the types of food that he and his family once relied on.

The Edesia factory is open for tours, and is a great way to learn about nutritional assistance. If you’d like to schedule a tour of the Edesia factory for your class or YUGA Chapter, click here or visit

Friday, October 15, 2010

Walk for Wells

Water Security in Niger
How you can help bring clean water to schools in Niger

Children everywhere should have access to an education—particularly in Niger, where only half of boys and a third of girls attend primary school. Access to water and sanitation plays a major role in their ability to get an education, especially for young girls with big responsibilities. In most families, it is a girl’s responsibility to fetch water for her family—which is often a long and difficult task. She may have to walk several miles to access clean water, forcing her to miss out on going to school. If the local school doesn’t have clean water, she’s even less likely to go. She isn’t able to get a drink, wash her hands, or use a clean restroom during the day. If she is able to get to school, she may have to leave early to get water for her family at home. Without access to water, life for students is far more difficult, especially if they’re a girl.

By providing access to clean water and sanitation, the number of girls who are absent from school can decrease by up to 37%.* The IMAGINE project (Improve the Education of Girls in Niger) seeks to increase the number of children, particularly girls, who complete primary school by addressing many of the reasons why they can’t. Plan’s 60 IMAGINE schools throughout Niger are equipped with wells, latrines, teachers’ lodgings, day-care centers, cafeterias, and a girls’ dormitory- all of which help support girls and their access to education.

Why Wells?
Streams are an unsafe source of water, often carrying waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery. In sub-Saharan Africa, diarrheal disease due to a lack of safe water and sanitation is the leading killer of children under 5 years old. A bore hole, which is dug deep into the ground, provides a safer supply of water that hasn’t been exposed to disease and contamination. By making it safer and easier to get water, we’ll make it safer and easier for girls to go to school. She and her family will be healthier, more educated, and better prepared to lift themselves out of poverty. Walk for Wells, and you’ll help girls in Niger reach their dreams!

For More Information about the Walk for Wells, visit

*CARE Action Network, September 24 2010