A Small Organization With A Big Purpose

Let me be honest, when I began my time here at The Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, I did not know who Clay Mathile was, and certainly had no clue who Norman Borlaug was.  I was not intending to become an “intern” for any organization while I started my Master’s program at the University of Dayton, but actually looking to get a part-time professional job.  I didn’t personally find the title “intern” a very aspiring role for a young professional like me at this stage of my life.  I’m sure the other young professionals out there can understand where I was coming from.

But then, I stumbled across this internship opportunity from a company with a curious title and whose mission read, “to create lasting solutions to alleviate malnutrition in children.”  Now that sounds like something I can really get behind, I thought.  And yes, I would have the title “intern” behind my name.  This was aspiring work and immediately my issue with the title “intern” faded.  I wrote my cover letter and sent in my resume to this captivating company that I had never heard of.

Just like me, you have probably never heard of The Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, either.  It would make sense, because the seven people that work here are tucked away on the northern outskirts of Dayton, Ohio, but what happens here goes far beyond Dayton and well beyond the United States.  They call themselves “Hunger Fighters” and they do exactly that.  These brilliant people that I am surrounded by when I come to the office, who are equipped with PhDs in nutrition, have created a nutrient fortified product that can help dissipate child malnutrition.  This product is called Chispuditos®.  I have just recently learned that Chispuditos® means “little sharp minds.”  Seriously, how cool is that?  Guatemalan children laughing Since their inception and creation of this Chispuditos®, they have already directly fed about 10,000 children with over 5 million servings of their Chispuditos® product.  In addition, they have indirectly helped feed over 45 million children by influencing other organizations to incorporate improved micronutrient nutrition into their foods.

What is truly amazing is the fact that these Hunger Fighters are not just nutritional geniuses, but business experts as well.  I say this because malnutrition is an incredibly complicated problem that require all the necessary components of business such as finance, marketing, operations, and most importantly the integration of these aspects.  That’s because information, evidence and interventions have to be introduced to many different people in government, other NGOs and certainly the nutritional caretakers that ultimately will see to it that the foods gets to the child.  And all of this needs to be sustainable in order to eradication malnutrition once and for all.

I think it’s important to note where the idea of The Mathile Institute originated.   The heart in this organization came from Clay Mathile, their founder and CEO(Clay Mathile wiki-link) who has literally a lifetime of experience in putting nutritional concepts into reality to improve well-being.   Norman Borlaug talks with farmersClay was inspired by an incredible friend named Dr. Norman Borlaug, the man who is credited for saving a billion lives and the father of the Green Revolution.  Norman Borlaug showed that one person can have an enormous impact in the world.  Dr. Borlaug and Clay became good friends, motivating Clay to use his experience in nutritional solutions to form an remarkably competent team to help the world’s children grow to their full potential.

Needless to say, I am currently now a “Hunger Fighter” and I will be one for life- even after my internship with The Mathile Institute concludes.  I couldn’t be more lucky to be able to spend the time while I finish my studies with these amazing people in the office of The Mathile Institute.  I couldn’t ask for more during this experience from this small but mighty non-profit in Dayton, Ohio.  This opportunity has been a tremendous blessing to me.

This blog was written by Emilie Teuscher, an Intern at the Mathile Institute.  She is completing an MBA in Marketing at the University of Dayton (www.udayton.edu).  Check out The Mathile Institute’s twitter page for more tidbits about the organization: @MathileInst