What is MANA? What’s RUTF?
Those of us in the developed world can’t imagine the sense of despair and helplessness that millions of mothers in the developing world must feel as they look into the eyes of their starving children and know they don’t have any food to offer them. Few of us can comprehend what it must feel like to watch your child die in your arms.
Hunger and malnutrition have many causes. Some are economic, some are political, and others have to do with climate and geography. The experts tell us that eradicating hunger will be an enormous and complex undertaking, and that it can’t be achieved overnight.
But a mother holding a starving child can’t wait for long-term solutions. She needs help now.
And that’s where MANA comes in.
MANA – “Mother Administered Nutritive Aid” – is a ready-to-use therapeutic food, what aid workers refer to as “RUTF.” It’s a kind of fortified peanut paste that’s been carefully formulated to provide all of a child’s basic nutritional needs, and it’s served in a packet that looks like an oversized version of those mustard and ketchup packets you get in fast food restaurants. It’s easy for a mother to open, easy for a child to eat, and as tasty as peanut butter. Just three servings of MANA a day can save the life of a starving child.
MANA won’t solve the problem of world hunger. But it will help a desperate mother feed her starving child. And to that mother, and that child, that means everything.
So while the best minds in science, economics, and public policy are all working hard on finding ways to end hunger in the world – and more power to them – we’re making a simple product that a mother can give her starving child – today – to save his or her life.
Someday, we hope, the scientists and the economists and the politicians will find a comprehensive solution to the problem of world hunger. And we hope that day comes soon.
But, until then, there’s MANA.