On 30 August, Food Industry Asia (FIA) and the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN) had their first dialogue session with Carolyn Miles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children, and her team. The objective of the meeting was to understand and explore ways of engagement and collaboration among FIA members, ARoFIIN members and partners, and Save the Children, particularly with regard to providing improved nutrition to adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating mothers as an intervention for the first 1,000 days of a person’s life. This is also referred to as the “critical window of nutrition” – from conception through to a child’s second birthday, when a range of interventions and programmes should be introduced.
Ms Miles presented us with the work that Save the Children does across the globe, as well as in Asia more specifically, introduced the organisation’s work to prevent malnutrition, and discussed opportunities for collaboration.
Save the Children has a range of successful partnerships with the private sector, in which core competencies of companies support the work of Save the Children; inversely, companies can make these activities and contributions part of their sustainability portfolios and corporate social responsibility work, which can include employee engagement programmes.
Collaboration with locally based multinationals and SMEs, Ms Miles said, would be facilitated through the organisation’s year-old Corporate Engagement Centre in Singapore. The centre seeks to develop longstanding, mutually beneficial partnerships with companies, in order to create transformational and sustainable change for children and their families.
Ms Miles also mentioned the timely launch of a report by Save the Children, titled “Cost of Hunger: Philippines”, which reveals that the Philippine economy is losing at least P328 billion – about US$7 billion – per year, due to the impact of childhood stunting on workforce productivity and education. The report states that the combined losses due to malnutrition, calculated with data from 2013, are more than triple the cost of damage inflicted by 15 natural disasters that hit the Philippines last year.
In light of these findings and chance for potential partnerships, it is indeed important that the industry collaborate with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Save the Children, to explore possible contributions towards ending hidden hunger and tackling issues related to obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Article by Bruno Kistner. Bruno, who leads the ARoFIIN Secretariat, has over 37 years of experience in the areas of food and nutrition. Prior to joining FIA, Bruno served as Commercial Director for the Asia region at Glanbia Nutritionals Singapore Pte Ltd. Before that, he spent almost 32 years with Roche Vitamins and DSM Nutritionals in marketing and commercial functions responsible for emerging markets in India, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, where he also focused on health and nutrition issues. During his tenure at DSM, he established the organisation’s Nutrition Improvement Program.
Bruno has significant experience working in NGOs and UN organisations to drive efforts in the areas of food fortification, nutrition and public health. His passion for improving health and nutrition standards led him to take up the role of founding member of the DSM-World Food Program (WFP) partnership, to combat hidden hunger and malnutrition in the developing world, as well as the Amsterdam Initiative against Malnutrition (AIM).