SLAN 2012 CONGRESS – CUBA SPEECH ABSTRACT

Title:               FOOD SECURITY USING GLOBAL GUIDELINES:                                   The Experience with Akamil in Haiti

 

Author:           KAISER, MICHAEL DAVID

AKAMIL PROJECT COORDINATOR

PROJECT MEDISHARE (UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI), CDC

THOMONDE, HAITI

 

Summary:        AkamilPlus is a not-for-profit business producing a nutritious, indigenous food in Haiti.  It is the result of a Grass-roots Campaign organized by Michael Kaiser for Project Medishare and The CDC to improve public health nutrition and at the same time create jobs in Haiti.

Akamil is a hot cereal that resembles instant oatmeal.  It is made from locally grown grains and beans.  Haitian’s like to mix Akamil with fruit and sugar for a sweet meal and/or mix it with vegetables and salt (and meat when available) for a more savory meal.   Although healthy in its own right, thanks to WHO’s Global Guidelines, AkamilPlus can now be fortified with 10 essential vitamins and minerals, making it even more nutritious.  By using an extrusion process to pre-cook the cereal, less cooking time is also required, and that means fewer trees are cut down in Haiti for fuel.  The campaign also includes nutritional surveys, locally, so Haitians can – for or the first time – have a way of collecting their own public health data rather than relying on the international aid community to collect their data for them.  And because the Akamil plant follows a business plan, Franchises are expected, which means even more data collection in more places for Haiti’s Ministry of Health.    

In addition to providing healthy, affordable food, the Akamil intervention also creates jobs for farmers, jobs for plant workers, and jobs for women in the sales and distribution of the product (i.e., direct marketing/micro-lending).  This grass-roots, bottoms-up campaign in Haiti is more cost-effective, more sustainable and it creates self-determination in ways most international aid organizations only dream of.   Indeed, the Akamil plant is built For Haitians, By Haitians; with just a little bit of coaching from Capital Consultants, The University of Miami and The CDC to ensure food safety, food composition, food quality, and food packaging are also addressed in Haiti.  It is not only a better way to address Food Security in Haiti, but a much better way of delivering foreign aid worldwide.  

WHO Topics (3):         – Public Health Nutrition

– Evaluation of the nutritional status of community

– Composition, quality and food safety (Food Security)

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