Project Peanut Butter’s (PPB) outreach efforts have yielded tangible headway in reducing malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, while also providing local jobs.
In 2002, Dr. Mark Manary developed a local, ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to feed malnourished children in sub-Saharan Africa. Project Peanut Butter was founded in 2004. As the organization continued to grow, millions of children were treated.
“I am grateful to all the people working to make RUTF available. My children are alive thanks to it,” said Aida, the mother of Pilirani who was successfully treated by Project Peanut Butter.
In the poorest countries of the world where hunger is common, Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) kills roughly 1 million children every year. Children that survive are often left with encumbering deficits that color their futures.
Making a difference
Project Peanut Butter factories are currently established in four sub-Saharan African countries, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. These factories purchase local ingredients, provide local income, and treat indigenous malnourished children, defining Project Peanut Butter as a local solution.
Clinical trials prove that RUTF causes 80-90% recovery in SAM children treated for an eight-week period.
“When a child comes in the clinic, they are crying, [and] their bodies are so weak. At the ending of the treatment, they are joyful, playing around, smiling,” said Elizabeth Sesay, a Senior Nurse in Sierra Leone.
In 2017, Dr. Manary began investigating an improved RUTF which included more diverse polyunsaturated fatty acids in a large-scale clinical trial. The trial demonstrated definitive scientific proof that 6-15 IQ points could be added to every SAM child during therapeutic feeding, and for children in the first year of life, normal neurocognition was achieved.
Project Peanut Butter then appealed to the international food regulatory agency, CODEX Alimentarius, to change the standards for all RUTFs to include more PUFAs; this appeal was adopted in 2021.
The future is brighter and with more opportunity for each child that receives the necessary nutrition to fuel both their minds and bodies.
More information can be found at www.projectpeanutbutter.org