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Episode 14 of 14

Episode 14: Edesia Nutrition

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station description Every year, billions of dollars are spent by food manufacturers to move water in an... read more
Water In Food
Duration: 28:05
https://www.edesianutrition.org/Zachary (00:00):I'm Zachary Cartwight. This is Water In Food.Maria (00:02):We are able to be a part of bringing children back from the brink of starvation, back to healthy growth and development and a chance at a future and a chance at a life.Rami (00:13):Our products
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https://www.edesianutrition.org/Zachary (00:00):I'm Zachary Cartwight. This is Water In Food.Maria (00:02):We are able to be a part of bringing children back from the brink of starvation, back to healthy growth and development and a chance at a future and a chance at a life.Rami (00:13):Our products were made to treat and prevent malnutrition especially young children ages six months to five years.Maria (00:20):We have a two year shelf life on all of the products.Zachary (00:23):Thank you guys for joining today. I'm really happy to have you here. Why don't you both say hello?Rami (00:28):Hi. Hi Zachary. How you doing?Zachary (00:30):I'm well, and yourself?Rami (00:32):I'm doing well. Thank you. My name is Rami Kawsara and I have been with Edesia for six years. It will be six years in August and I'm the quality and regulatory manager. At Edesia I do quality and we make sure that the product from start to finish is good and I'm ready to go before it leaves our organization.Zachary (00:57):And Rami I understand that you were just promoted; is that correct? Did you just have a title change?Rami (01:03):That's correct. I was the quality control supervisor and now I'm the quality and regulatory manager at Edesia.Zachary (01:09):Well, congratulations.Rami (01:11):Thank you very much.Zachary (01:12):You are welcome. And Maria, what about you? How long have you been there and what's your role?Maria (01:17):Sure. My name is Maria Kasparian and I'm the executive director at Edesia. I've been with the Edesia since we got started in February 2009. And so that's over 12 years now. I was the first employee working with the founder, Navyn Salem, and we started the two of us in her home with ideas and visions and grant writing and partnership, thoughts. And now today, 12 years later, I've played a lot of different roles along the way and feel lucky to still be here and be the executive director of this wonderful organization.Zachary (01:59):And Maria I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about the story behind how Edesia was started?Maria (02:05):Sure. So our founder, Navyn, her father's family hails from Tanzania. They were there for several generations and so she always had a personal connection to the continent of Africa and a certain sensitivity to particular needs and poverty alleviation and wanting to do something, give something back to her father's Homeland. She also had a fascination and interest in business and the ability of a business to do good and this concept of social enterprise. So this idea that a business, whether for-profit or nonprofit, can be used to create a social good, create a product that's needed while at the same time creating meaningful jobs and opportunities for individuals. So, honestly, that was the first core concept.Maria (02:54):And then in doing research, in visiting Tanzania, meeting with nonprofits doing work there, came to realize that nutrition was a gap area that really wasn't being focused on enough in the development space. So kind of marrying that idea of nutritional needs and too many children, way too many children's still suffering from acute malnutrition and starvation that being the need and then this passion for social enterprise, Edesia was born of that. The idea of forming a nonprofit that could manufacture specialized foods to treat and prevent malnutrition in places like Tanzania and beyond.Zachary (03:34):So once the passion was there, what was the next step? Who did you reach out to? Or how did you go about starting the company?Maria (03:43):Sure. Well, we had a lot to learn as the two of us back in February 2009. And one of the first organizations we reached out to was Nutriset, which is the French company that originally invented this range of products along with some other partners in the late 1990s. So they are one of the four leading experts, of course, in ready to use therapeutic foods as they are known. The brand name that's best well known is called Plumpy'Nut. They developed those and then piloted them with various organizations in the field over the early 2000s. By the mid-2000s, it was accepted widely by the powers that be in nutrition. So the World Health Organization, the Standing Committee on Nutrition, UNICEF, the World Food Program, that these types of products were the best case standard of care for children with severe acute malnutrition to rehabilitate them and cure them.Maria (04:43):So at that point, Nutriset started licensing out their technology to other suppliers, primarily in developing countries where these products are used. So
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