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The Power of Five: How Amway is Beating Malnutrition around the world

Did you know that the first five years in a child’s life are critical for reaching important physical and mental milestones – and every year, more than 3 million children die from malnutrition? It is a tragedy that is entirely preventable and can be stopped. 

This past September at the Social Good Summit in New York City, I had the opportunity to meet with Jeff Terry, head of Amway’s Global Corporate Social Responsibility, to learn about the work he’s leading to address childhood malnutrition around the world. Founded in 1959 in Ada, Michigan, Amway has grown to become a global leader in health, nutrition, home and beauty products sold through Independent Distributors.

Seeing a growing need to combat malnutrition, Amway harnessed their expertise on nutritional supplements to launch the Nutrilite Power of 5 program.  The program delivers Nutrilite™ Little Bits™– a plant-based nutritional product specially designed for under-nourished children from six months to five years old the essential nutrients they need to grow and develop healthier brains and bodies. Amway works with key NGO partners in the field to provide education for families and children as well as monthly health assessments to check on progress. To date, Amway and their partners have performed up to 47,000 health assessments to ensure progress over the long-term, and have provided over 6,500 with the nutrition they need to survive and thrive.

An Amway team visits families in Zambia. Photo credit: Amway

An Amway team visits families in Zambia. Photo credit: Amway

Jeff came to Amway over four years ago and has been working closely with their team on the development and launch of the Power of Five campaign ever since. Seeing a growing crisis in malnutrition and a strong urge to help save lives, Amway used their strong knowledge and expertise in the nutritional supplement industry to launch the Power of Five program which was named to represent the importance of the first five years of life in a child’s development.

Jeff Terry in Zambia demonstrating the "Power of Five". Photo credit: Amway

Jeff Terry in Zambia demonstrating the “Power of Five”.
Photo credit: Amway

The facts on malnutrition around the world are tragic yet can be changed:

  • Malnutrition in the form of under nutrition can be diagnosed in three ways: stunting (shorter- than-average height), wasting (having a low weight for one’s height) and being underweight (having a low weight for one’s age).
  • Poverty is a major cause of malnutrition – but despite common misperceptions, malnutrition is a global problem and not just confined to the developing world.
  • In many countries, rising income, changing diets and reduced physical activity are leading to a “double burden” of under nutrition and overweight/obesity – causing enormous social, economic and health costs for communities.
  • Almost every country has an issue with malnutrition. In India and Guatemala, 48 percent of children are stunted due to malnutrition, yet obesity is high, too. In the United States and Mexico, 69 percent of adults are overweight or obese and not getting proper nutrition.

Amway realized that the solution to preventing malnutrition and saving lives was not that difficult.  Amway is one of a small number of companies who have partnered with the United Nations to work on two of the newly announced Sustainable Development Goals: Ending hunger — achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture — and ending poverty in all its forms everywhere.

A mother and child in Zambia. Photo credit: Amway

A mother and child in Zambia. Photo credit: Amway

An Amway team member holding a child who is benefiting from the Power of Five products. Photo credit: Amway

An Amway team member holding a child who is benefiting from the Power of Five products. Photo credit: Amway

Nutrilite Little Bits is a micronutrient powder that can be mixed into a child’s food and it has no flavor, smell or color. It costs as little as $120 to provide one child with a healthy meal and all the nutrition they need for one year.

The initial product was developed in 2009 and first tested in Zambia. The Power of Five program was launched in May and to date they work in 11 countries and plan on operating in 15 countries within the next year.

Fighting Malnutrition in Zambia

Nutrilite™ Little Bits™ is an exciting solution Amway has created to address the very serious global issue of childhood malnutrition. The scenes in this video were shot in Lusaka, Zambia, where Amway began its campaign to address malnutrition. This video provides an overview of the initiative.

Malnutrition: Tackling a Global Issue The Issue

Every year, more than 3 million children die due to malnutrition, and every death is entirely preventable. If children don’t receive essential nutrients in their first five years of life, brain and body development won’t occur properly, and the opportunity for that development is lost – forever.

Malnutrition is preventable, but to make a difference to millions of children around the world, we have to act now. Through the Nutrilite Power of 5 program, 6,500 children have been reached thus far with a long-term relationship that goes beyond pure delivery of product and incorporates key partnerships to offer a comprehensive program. To learn more about how you can help or get involved, click here.

Author’s Note: All the above facts and figures have been provided to me by Amway’s Power of Five campaign. 

11 comments

  1. Pingback: The Power of Five: How Amway is Beating Malnutrition around the world | JASA SEBAR BROSUR SURABAYA MURAH

  2. Palash Datta

    I am an proud amway business owner from India.and amway makes us proud to know that we are all with this global campaign.this childrens is our future.and we were like them.hats off amway and nutrilite.

  3. I think anyone addressing world hunger deserves kudos, and I know it has long been argued that Amway is not an illegal pyramid business, but I wondered if you have looked into the dubious track record and reputation of Amway and how that might affect the viability of this new program of theirs? I hate to be a skeptic, but I wonder how exactly Amway interacts with the NGOs and/or the individuals receiving these products? I worry that some companies’ CSR work simply masks their enormous appetite for profits at the expense of even those whom it purports to help. I hope I am wrong and that Amway is doing something totally positive and beyond what I have always thought of as a less-than-admirable business model.

    • Lexi, this is a great question and the more and more I’m writing about for-profit companies that are doing social responsibility, the better I am beginning to understand how it works. As more and more for-profit companies get involved with social giving and responsibility, I’m sure it will become common place which I think it should. I think every corporation can and should give back. Anyway, I will admit I was at first a little skeptical meeting with Amway due to misconceived notions about their business. However, every meeting them in person and hearing them speak to our audience at a United Nations Roundable a green light went on and I understand how corporations big and small can leverage their product line to give back. It is a brilliant model.
      Since I didn’t include the specific details (they were given to me) in my post on what NGOs Amway works with, I asked Jeff to provide a more clear answer to your questions. This is what he said and please let me know if you want further clarification. Hope this helps Lexi! :
      As a leading manufacturer and distributor of vitamins Amway develops a product called Nutrilite Little Bits, specifically to help global NGOs fight malnutrition in children who are lacking proper nutrition. We make no money on this product, but instead provide it to partner organizations who have established programs supporting children and families. We have many important partners, as we can’t do this by ourselves.

      They have conducted due diligence on researching us as we have done the same on them. We provide significant product and financial support to help bring education, health assessments, food and nutrition offerings to more families globally. Our power of 5 campaign is about raising awareness for this issue, because it’s not receiving the needed attention it deserves. It’s a root causal impact for more than 3 million premature deaths for children under five every year.

      (By the way, the partners they work with are all on their Power of Five website). 🙂

      • Thanks for the additional info, Nicole. I was able to talk with a hunger expert yesterday, and he confirmed that Amway’s nutritional program is indeed legit! It’s a shame so many of us still have only their business model in our heads when we think of Amway. I also hope the program ramps up in the future; I’m sure it’s tough to make headway in countries where the red tape is thick for this kind of supplement; I’m guessing that’s why they are still at pretty low numbers despite starting in 2009. (I also learned that this program has worked well in Mexico.) Thanks again for the new info!

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