We recently shared how Truvia’s partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme has been successfully working to create sustainable solutions to the child hunger problem in Bolivia. I recently attended an online seminar and Q&A with Matthew Jacobs, Product Line Manager at Truvia® Consumer Products International, where they outlined some of the program’s current milestones and future plans.
Launched in 2012, Truvia’s “Sharing a Sweet Future” program pledged $1 million to support the World Food Programme’s Sustainable School Meals program in Bolivia. Here’s a few highlights of what has been achieved:
- In the first year, Truvia provided 43 metric tons of fortified vegetable oil, benefiting 34,705 students
- Trained 500 Bolivian residents to build & use cleaner stoves
- Built 68 cleaner stoves
I asked Matthew to talk more about the fortified vegetable oil and explain why it’s an important ingredient in these school meals. He explained that it is fortified with additional natural vitamins, because these children aren’t getting a lot of fruit and veggies, so it’s important to supplement the nutritional profile. (The vegetable oil is funded by Truvia’s efforts, but not produced by them.) Matthew also related how many children in this community have to walk 3 to 5 miles to get to school, often without any breakfast in their tummies, so they’re expending a lot of energy before they even get to school. Access to food is a huge help to not only keep children healthy and make academic success possible, but even to attend school, period – families in developing countries often have to make very tough decisions, and schools providing meals can help tip the scale and make it possible to keep kids in schools. This makes the school more stable, which in turn inspires confidence in parents – if a school is seen able being unstable, parents will often pull the kids out, which then makes the school even less stable. As Matthew emphasized, there are many complicated hurdles to overcome to get these children in school.
With the scope of global problems, it can be easy to feel helpless – especially with so many families in the US being on tight budgets. I asked Matthew to recommend effective ways that our readers could get involved to help this initiative even if they don’t have a lot of extra money, and he emphasized that raising awareness is one of the most important factors. “[It’s] possible to do a huge amount of work by spreading the word,” he said, noting that fans sharing their videos about the people in Bolivia have been helpful and that they’re hoping to circulate them further. They feel that by shining a light on the issue of child hunger in Bolivia, they can mobilize more efforts to address the problem. So be sure to tweet out a video or two – and if you do have a few dollars to spare, Matthew recommends directing those to The World Food Programme.
And there’s another way you can help out: By voting for which organization should be Truvia’s next social good partner. As their 3-year initiative in Bolivia comes to a close, Truvia is assessing where their next efforts should go. The program in Bolivia was designed to be self-sustaining, as they wanted to create lasting change without leaving them in a lurch once they wrapped up the initiative; of course, there is always more that could be done, so Truvia could continue to develop solutions in Bolivia, or pick a new area to focus on. They want to hear what you have to say, so click here to cast your vote for who you’d like their next partner to be! There are a number of great organizations listed that help children both in the US and abroad, and they will work with the chosen partner to tailor a program for good. Every one of these organizations have worthy goals, so no matter who they choose, it will be a “Win”!
Which program are you voting for?