As a magazine journalism major, I had big dreams about changing the world with my words.
While there was a side of me that had stars in my eyes for glamorous glossies, the other part of my heart was torn to write the stories that really mattered. I wanted to combine my inquisitiveness and passion for justice to shine a light on stories that might otherwise be forgotten. To share stories to spur others on to do something.
I ended up diving into an in-depth feature on how some Midwest ingenuity was helping fight the battle of childhood malnutrition. As I studied statistics from organizations like the United Nations World Food Programme, my heart beat a little faster. I was humbled by how big our world really is. I was humbled about how much our stories matter. I interviewed Midwest leaders from the World Food Prize and relief doctors working in Africa and leading agronomists finding hunger solutions in India and I felt the world open up in front of my eyes.
Yes, there is so much need, but there is also hope. Sometimes we can miss the forest through the trees and gloss over all the men and women who are using creativity and talent to combat the most devastating aspects of our world, like childhood hunger. As just a girl from the Midwest, I had the privilege of sharing these ocean-crossing stories, and penning that feature greatly impacted the journalist I would be come.
I will always have heart of a storyteller. While I’ve currently stepped away from full-time journalism to stay home with my two little boys, I hope that Many Sparrows can be a little space that helps take you to places you might not have gone — to help others find their voices to tell stories and help you have the eyes to see and ears to hear — and most importantly, hands to do. I’m honored to tell you about how Truvia has recently announced the results from the first two years of its three-year partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme.
Over a three-year period, nearly $1 million in contributions from Truvia will have been used to help develop sustainable communities in Bolivia, a region of critical need with one of the highest rates of nutritional deficiencies in South America.
The program has helped to feed 49,075 Bolivian schoolchildren.
In the first two years of its partnership with World Food Program USA, Truvia has provided 97 metric tons of vitamin-fortified vegetable oil through its funding. Truvia also contributed to the building of 125 fuel-efficient stoves in rural schools, which 750 parents and school employees were trained to build and use. These cleaner stoves replaced traditional cook stoves, allowing users to make food with safer stoves that use less fuel. The new stoves also generate less harmful smoke, which will benefit over 17,000 children in the years to come and minimize environmental destruction.
“The goal of this initiative is ultimately to help establish a self-sufficient community and the best way to do that is through better nutrition and education,” says Matthew Jacobs, international project line manager at Truvia.
I really believe that when businesses partner with organizations rooted in sustainability and education, big things can happen to empower communities and equip them to rise out of poverty. (Go here to see the stories of children, families, and farmers living in Bolivia. Powerful.) Truvia partnered with the United Nation’s World Food Programme’s work in Bolivia after learning that nearly 40 percent of the Bolivian population can’t afford adequate food for a healthy life, and 65 percent of all rural households in Bolivia are unable to afford the minimum recommended caloric intake.
Truvia contacted me because the business wants you to have a voice in helping choose the organization they partner with in 2015.
Click here to vote for one of these organizations: Feeding America, Edible Schoolyard, Action for Healthy Kids, United Nations World Food Programme and Feed The Children. (I recommend using Charity Navigator giving guide to research the organizations to see their accountability and transparency ratings. Most of these rank very high.)
Then, tell the Truvia brand which organization you’d like to see the brand partner with next year. I’d like to see them continue their partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme. It is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, reaching more than 80 million people in 75 countries with food assistance in 2013.
I’m a mom of two living in the middle of cornfields. I can’t solve the world’s problems. But instead of focusing on what I can’t do, I have to remember to do what I can. Let’s continue to speak up for things that matter and partner with communities here in the U.S. and around the world for sustainable solutions.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Truvia, but all words and thoughts are, of course, my own. Photos of these Bolivian children and families shown with their permission. You can see an awesome infographic with photos and stats of the partnership here.