We are Arjun Hiren, Saira Ingram, and Steven Karst, 4th graders from the Center for Creative Learning (CCL) in the in St. Louis County. The CCL is a school for gifted kids who study real-world problems.
We are in a class called Feeding the World, and we are learning about food security in developing countries. We also learned about organizations that help the developing countries with hunger. We are writing this letter to support Project Peanut Butter (PPB) and to educate the First World about the fact that 40,000 children die each day from hunger and malnutrition.
Project Peanut Butter has saved over 100,000 lives of children with malnutrition. That is really amazing. Project Peanut Butter’s goal is to raise one million dollars by 2012, and we need your help to make this happen.
Project Peanut Butter started in Malawi. Malawi is currently in a bad (but better) condition. People are suffering with undeveloped systems and bad statistics. The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is 81/1000, which means that 81 out of every 1000 babies born healthy die before their first birthday. But compare that to Malawi’s IMR in 1960; according to childinfo.org, 219 babies out of 1,000 died. The Per Capita Income (PCI) is only $800, which means that families only live the $800 received every year. And, to make matters worse, life expectancies for males is 51 years, and life expectancies for females is 52; people do not live very long because of preventable diseases and malnutrition.
Project Peanut Butter helps cure a terrible disease called malnutrition. Also called SAM (Severe Acute Malnutrition), this disease kills more than HIV (or AIDS) and malaria COMBINED. It kills about 3.5 million children under 5 years old every year. The milk solution was the first (and worse) solution doctors developed. Before Project Peanut Butter, 95% of the babies treated with the milk solution died. But Dr. Mark Manary invented the peanut butter solution, restoring hope and changing the statistic to 95% recovery rate. If a child is malnourished, doesn’t get a treatment, and survives then he/she will suffer health issues for the rest of his life.
Project Peanut Butter is making a difference in Africa one village at a time.
Project Peanut Butter began with a man named Dr. Mark Manary. Dr. Manary lives in Malawi for 10 weeks at a time to treat malnutrition. In the early 90s, he and other doctors became committed to improving the infant mortality rate and tested various formulas of the peanut butter with thousands of malnourished children in Malawi, Africa. After much work, Chiponde was developed and the cost to make it is pretty low: $25 saves one child, $50 can treat a set of twins, $100 can treat a cluster of malnourished children, $500 can pay a nurses wages for a month, and $1,000 can treat an entire village of malnourished children for one year.
Project Peanut Butter makes peanut butter that is made from: milk powder, peanuts, sugar, vitamins, minerals, and vegetable oil. Even though Project Peanut Butter has saved over 100,000 lives if children, 500,000 children are at risk to die because of malnutrition in Africa.
Project Peanut Butter is a good organization to know about and support because it has the potential to impact all six systems studied in class: Education, Jobs, Health Care, Farming, Sanitation and Transportation. The organization directly impacts Health Care, Jobs and Farming, which means that support for these systems does not depend on the link of another system. PPB directly impacts Health Care in Malawi by fighting malnutrition of babies by using Chiponde, which is peanuts, powdered milk, oil, sugar, vitamins which can be stored without refrigeration for months. Since people in Malawi don’t have much refrigeration, they can still have healthy food for their children so the Infant Mortality Rate will decrease and more babies will live past their first birthday. PPB also impacts Jobs directly because PPB makes factories in Malawi to make the Chiponde, and the people from the nearby villages work in the factories to earn money for a better per capita income. The last system PPB directly impacts is Farming because the organization gets most of the ingredients, such as peanuts, from local farmers, so when they buy the ingredients for the Chiponde, the money goes to the farmers. They use that money to help their families.
Because these three systems are supported by PPB, the other systems are indirectly impacted. The other systems that are indirectly impacted are Education, Sanitation and Transportation.
PPB indirectly impacts Education because when the organization gives treatment, moms may not be able to read the instructions because the literacy rate of Malawi for men is 76% and for female is 50%. So instead of teaching the moms how to read the peanut butter jars, the organization volunteers teach them songs about the Chiponde and how much to give to the babies and to keep it away from other family members.
PPB also indirectly impacts Sanitation because the money the family gets from the other family members working may help their family or their village get clean sanitation, such as a purified well. Also, the peanut butter formula does not rely on water as an ingredient, which is important because most water is dirty or contaminated. The last system PPB indirectly impacts is Transportation because people have to walk or bike to a nearby clinic which gives out Chiponde. They may have to walk or bike with their children, so the more clinics spread out to different villages, the more people in Africa will be helped. Supporting PPB will help make more clinics available for people to walk to.
Thank you for giving a group of 4th graders a chance to educate the First World about Project Peanut Butter and the developing countries. We hope you share our letter with other viewers.
To learn more about Project Peanut Butter, click here. If everyone works together, it will be possible to help “feed the world.”
Arjun Hiren, Saira Ingram, and Steven Karst
Editor's Note: Ingram's home school is Ballwin Elementary. Hiren's and Karst's home school is Woerther Elementary in Ballwin.