Nutrients for All
The world is presently facing a nutritional crisis. Over 2 billion people across the globe are malnourished. Both poor and rich countries alike are suffering from a nutrient crisis. Over a third of the United States population is suffering from obesity. Nutrients for All is an initiative to help repair this nutritional problem by carrying out a design called the nutrient value chain, which is the link between soil, farm, food and people.

Obesity is linked to diabetes and heart disease, which are growing problems. Recent studies show that there is a link between pregnant women suffering from malnourishment, which may cause obesity later in life. Access to the foods needed for proper nourishment has become a global problem. Many developing countries are living on nutrient-less subsidized diets.

Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka, is working with Nutrients for All to help fight major social, environmental and economic concerns. Ashoka is a global network that whose goal is to bring these innovative ideas around the world.

Ashoka and other organization leaders from around the world are putting unconventional agricultural and management techniques to the test to help fight the global need for proper nutrients. These organizations implement plans that enrich soils in ways that nourish both crops and local ecological systems. This helps nourish communities and produce the right foods to farm. There are many factors that Ashoka and Nutrients for All entails for success.

The Nutrients for All soil plan includes reducing topsoil erosion, providing nutrient-rich food for local, regional and global supply chains, stabilizing and increasing recharge of groundwater and watersheds and reducing pollution and sanitation problems from industrial and residential sources.

These factors create a better understanding of soil management, and are used to help strengthen developing countries‘ economies and the well-being of those people.

The transformations of the economy provides proof that the Nutrients for All is a successful and innovative plan. Communities are more prepared for weather and natural disasters. Human vitality increases and communities share a lack of diseases across the board. More economic and food choices are brought to each community where Nutrients for All has been placed.

Nutrients for All wants to engage women farmers to produce not only for their household, but as a means to increases household income. A study performed by Ashoka staff shows that for a household with female farmers, the income and well-being increases 11 times.

One way we can take action to help get Nutrients for All’s message out is to empower others with new information. Either by being a consumer or practitioner, providing this information about nutrient conscious decisions for not only yourself, but for those around you, benefits everyone.

Help from sources like Nutrients for All can help change not only the way we eat, but the way we live. The evidence of the link between health and food is shown in the rising rates of cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

– Rachel Cannon

Sources: Nutrients for All, Nutrients for Life

Who cares?: A Documentary About Social Entrepreneurship“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive. For what the world needs are more people who’ve come alive.”

Those are the words spoken by one of the many social entrepreneurs interviewed in the Portuguese film “Quem se Importa?” directed by Mara Mourão. Translated to English, the film’s title means “Who cares?” which is the question answered throughout the film.

Shot in 20 different locations in a short span of just 40 days, the film highlights the lives of people all around who are changing the world through social entrepreneurship. Featured in the film is Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus along with a handful of Ashoka fellows. From a Canadian educator teaching empathy to children to a Brazilian priest who became a banker, the theme is clear: everyone can change the world.

A social entrepreneur interviewed puts it well when he says, “Before we can create our own world, we must imagine what kind of world we want to live in and then start doing that.”

The film was screened earlier this year at the 13th Social Enterprise Conference at Harvard and will be featured at the 27th annual Washington DC International Film Festival

– Rafael Panlilio
Source: Ashoka

“As a girl, I am always being told that things happen because of fate, but it’s the things I do, not luck that determine my fate,” says Sikha, a young girl from the slums of Kolkata and one of the children featured in “The Revolutionary Optimists,” a documentary following several children living in the slums of Kolkata and making a difference.

Salim is an eleven year old boy who lives in a community that has no water. Every morning at 4:30, he has to go to a neighboring slum to collect water for his family. By mapping their community and collecting data, he is leading a team of child activists to persuade the government to provide their community with a water tap. Priyanka is a sixteen year old girl who teaches and leads a dance troupe as a means of fighting tradition and the pressure to enter into arranged marriage and to keep girls in school. These children and others featured in the film are the child activists of Prayasam.

Founded by Ashoka Fellow Amlan Ganguly, Prayasam is an organization that doesn’t work to rescue children; rather the organization empowers them to become “agents of change.” The philosophy is to reach out to these children who live in dire circumstances but believe that they decide their own fates. Prayasam works with six child advisors and more than thirty children as core members who take the lead in spearheading projects that address social issues within their communities.

Through methods from street theater to data collection, the children have managed to organize education campaigns, first aid training, and vaccination drives for polio, and turn garbage dumps into playing grounds. Fueled by child-led activism, the work of Prayasam and its child activists has had a considerable effect on health, hygiene, and sanitation in their neighborhoods having decreased cases of malaria and diarrhea.

Inspired by the film, the BAVC Producer’s Institute for New Technologies developed a project called Map Your World based on Salim’s mapping of his own communities. The technology would allow other child activists to map their community, track and collect data on health issues, and improve health in their communities using cell phones.

“The Revolutionary Optimists” was the recipient of the Hilton Lightstay Sustainability Award this year from Sundance and is set to officially open in New York on March 29 with other cities to follow.

– Rafael Panlilio

Source: Ashoka, PrayasamRevolutionary Optimists, Telegraph India