HarvestPlus is one of eight semi-finalists named this week by 100&Change, a global competition for a single $100 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation. The competition seeks bold solutions to critical problems of our time.
The World Health Organization estimates that malnutrition contributes to 3.1 million deaths of children under-five every year, almost half of all deaths for that age group.
“We know that good nutrition is an essential building block for growth and development,” says HarvestPlus CEO Bev Postma. “Sadly, many children in rural Africa and other parts of the developing world still suffer from the devastating effects of ‘hidden hunger.’ They may not be visibly hungry, but their basic diets lack the essential micronutrients for good health.”
HarvestPlus has pioneered a simple but transformative way to increase the nutritional value of staple food crops, such as sweet potatoes, beans, maize, and cassava. These improved varieties provide higher amounts of vitamin A, iron, and zinc—the three micronutrients identified by the World Health Organization as most lacking in diets globally. Recent studies have shown that crops pioneered by HarvestPlus and its partners can dramatically improve vitamin A status, reduce diarrheal disease, improve visual function, and reverse iron deficiency in women and children.
“HarvestPlus has already reached 20 million people worldwide and our goal is to reach one billion people by 2030. We can do this only with the help of partners, such as the MacArthur Foundation,” says Postma.
With additional resources, HarvestPlus can work with others to scale up its partnerships and empower rural communities across Africa to tackle hidden hunger by growing and consuming more nutritious and sustainable varieties of staple crops.
A summary of our solution, an overview video of our project, and a MacArthur video describing our proposal are available here:
“The eight ambitious proposals exemplify the passion, range, and creativity of the hundreds of applications,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch.
“We hope that the competition inspires individuals and organizations to be bold and think big, because solutions are possible.” MacArthur’s Board will select up to five finalists in September. Finalists will present their proposals during a live event on December 11, 2017, before the Board names a single recipient to receive $100 million over up to six years.