As a leading producer of vitamins and minerals, DSM initiated Bright4Africa to address hidden hunger.
Hidden hunger is the body’s hunger for the vitamins and minerals that are vital to our survival. Without these micronutrients, even those who are getting enough calories and food to survive are subsisting on a diet that doesn’t provide sufficient crucial nutrients necessary for optimal physical and mental health.
The most vulnerable people in the world today cannot afford the variety of nutritious foods that contains all the necessary micronutrients. This is malnutrition, properly defined as poor overall quality of nutrition, rather than the starving child so often depicted.
The malnutrition that is most common is happening in people who look very much like you and me, hence hidden hunger. It has devastating consequences for the two billion people it affects globally.
Bright4Africa is a dedicated effort to help raise awareness of hidden hunger and the important role of micronutrients, especially among young children, adolescent girls and pregnant and breastfeeding women in Kenya and South Africa.
For malnourished children, not getting enough of the necessary vitamins and minerals essential for their optimal physical and mental health at a crucial time in their lives means that:
- Physically, they will not grow at the right pace, resulting in stunting, i.e., they will be short for their age. Stunting affects a quarter of children under 5 in Kenya (26%) and South Africa (24%).
- Mentally, they will not develop to their full potential: they will fail at school, will never achieve their income potential, and are likely to remain forever trapped in the poverty cycle.
In fact it’s worse than this: some 1.1 million children will die each year of undernutrition related to hidden hunger. Unless addressed, the future of our children, which is ultimately the future of our countries, is not bright.
Bright4Africa strives to help break this cycle by sharing information on good nutrition. Ideally, nutrition should start before conception. Women need good nutrition not just during pregnancy and breastfeeding, not even at conception, but all the way back to adolescence when their bodies begin to prepare for possible pregnancy.
All children, no matter how well or badly their mothers are nourished, have a window of opportunity for good nutrition. It starts from conception and lasts until their 2nd birthday, a period of 1,000 days. The proper nutrition during this time of development lays the foundation for a bright future that provides what children need to reach their full potential in life.
We can enable them to create bright futures; indeed, we must!
Follow our campaign on Facebook (Bright4Africa Kenya and Bright4Africa South Africa) or Twitter (@Bright4AfricaK and @Bright4AfricaSA) as we cover different topics through the year on the important role of vitamins and minerals at significant life stages.