Nutrition International celebrates 30 years of impact
Nutrition International's President and CEO Joel C. Spicer reflects on Nutrition International's history, and how the organization plans to step up and step forward in a time of growing global crisis.
Posted on April 13, 2022
Human beings around the world are facing incredible challenges that are intersecting, inequitable and impossible to ignore. The COVID-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, supply chain disruptions, inflation, debt crises and food price spikes are all contributing to a growing malnutrition crisis that will fall most heavily on those that can least afford it. These are the people Nutrition International exists to serve − and there has never been a more urgent time for organizations like ours to step up and to step forward in solidarity with them.
Nutrition International serves as an expert ally to governments around the world, as a force-multiplier in the development ecosystem, and as a bridge between evidence and action at scale in nutrition. This year, as we commemorate our 30th anniversary, we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on the difference we’ve made, the lessons we’ve learned, and our role in building a better future. Despite the challenges, I’m excited because I know that 2022 will usher in a new level of growth for our organization that will help us achieve even greater global impact.
A lot has changed in the three decades since the Micronutrient Initiative was first established following the World Summit for Children, with the singular goal of eliminating micronutrient deficiencies globally. What started in 1992 as a small secretariat within the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada, grew to become Nutrition International: a world-class organization of more than 600 people, with a growing track record of at-scale results in Africa and Asia, cutting-edge technical expertise and increasing global influence.
We act with focus based on reason and evidence – which comes from our expertise, experience, and dedication to doing quality work – because that’s how we achieve results. But the reason why we act comes also from our hearts, and this is a key part of the Nutrition International approach. We are driven by knowing that within the data are the people we exist to serve and their stories. The families with children who would have died, mothers and newborns in good health who would have been sick, and young people who would have been held back and held down by malnutrition but are now more able to look forward and upward towards a brighter future.
“Through improved nutrition millions of people will have better lives and be able to make even greater contributions to their families and communities, their countries, and the planet we share.
— Joel C. Spicer, President and CEO, Nutrition International
Since our inception, Nutrition International has reached billions of people with low-cost, high-impact nutrition interventions. In the last four years alone, our work prevented almost 15 million women and girls from having anaemia, protected nearly three million children from being stunted, and saved the lives of more than half a million children. Combined, our work created $29 billion in future economic benefits and enabled more than five million children to gain an additional year of education.
Behind these numbers is a lot of hope protected and created, a lot of pain prevented and removed, and a lot of dignity preserved and expanded. We know our work is important because through improved nutrition millions of people will have better lives and be able to make even greater contributions to their families and communities, their countries, and the planet we share.
Our approach is to work hand-in-hand with governments, building local capacity and capability, and connecting to and engaging with partners who bring their own expertise and skill. They are an integral part of our impact story. Finally – our organization was built by the people who work for Nutrition International globally. The world is better today because of their ideas, the way they work together in support of the countries we work in, and their personal commitment to making a real difference. I’m grateful to be a part of this team and it’s one of the main reasons why this is the best job I’ve ever had.
Throughout this milestone year, we will be sharing the stories of our success, as well as some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way. I invite you to follow along on our website and social media platforms and celebrate 30 years of impact with us.