Edesia Nutrition: How One Entrepreneur Is On A Mission To End Child Malnutrition
By: Madeleine Wisecup
Navyn Salem, Founder of Edesia & MeWe, on the life-changing moment that inspired her to found Edesia, the challenges and successes of her entrepreneurial journey, and the importance of social entrepreneurship
“My why? I understand that I have the ability to change lives, and I see it in so many ways. While I see a world full of problems I also see solutions…I think we can actually make impact, I honestly believe that.”
Meet Navyn Salem, the founder of Edesia Nutrition a nonprofit based out of Providence RI whose mission it is to help treat and prevent malnutrition in the world’s most vulnerable populations. To date, Edesia has reached over 8 million malnourished children in over 55 countries.
In this episode we cover:
- The journey that led Navyn to founding Edesia & her newest social enterprise MeWe, a delicious and nutritious nut butter on a mission to make peanut allergies a thing of the past.
- The difference between severe and acute malnutrition.
- How a little packet of fortified peanut butter can change a child’s life.
- The importance of using business to solve social and environmental issues.
- The entrepreneurial challenges and successes Navyn’s faced over the years.
- How we should never take “No!” for an answer and how to overcome and redefine failure.
This was such a wonderful and insightful conversation. Navyn, and her team, are truly doing some amazing work. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did! Happy listening.
Getting personal with Navyn Salem, founder of Edesia Nutrition
1. City of residence: Barrington, RI
2. Place of birth: Hartford, CT
3. In under five sentences, define your business: Edesia’s mission is to treat malnutrition in the world’s most vulnerable populations. We make a fortified peanut paste called Plumpy’Nut for international organizations like UNICEF and WFP that saves the lives of millions of severely malnourished children in the most inhospitable countries around the world such as Syria, Yemen and Somalia. A few months ago we started a new line of foods for the U.S. market, beginning with Little Nut, as an easy way to introduce peanuts to babies 6+ months that according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, could prevent peanut allergies.
4. What social or environmental impact is your business making? On an annual basis, Edesia is making enough Plumpy’Nut to reach 1.5 million malnourished children per year. (Currently that means we are making close to a million 92 gram packets per day!!) Since we began in 2010, we have been able to reach 8 million children with full treatments. Additionally through the sales of Little Nut we are donating 100% of proceeds to further our mission to end malnutrition.
5. What is the best part about your job and the work you’re doing with Edesia/MeWe Baby? Why?
The best part of my job is traveling to the field. This year I traveled to Sierra Leone, Uganda and Chad to check in on the malnutrition clinics distributing our products. I get to see the children and parents we are helping first hand. To watch a child go from not having the strength to cry or sit up, to a happy, healthy one year old in just 6 weeks is an incredible miracle to witness.
6. What book(s) are you currently reading?
“Island of a Thousand Mirrors” By Nayomi Munaweera
7. Quote you (try to) live by?
Life is short, use it wisely.
8. Using one word, how would you describe yourself?
9. What is one random fact that most people don’t know about you?
I had to repeat the fifth grade.
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