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A couple of weeks ago I watched a report on Plumpy’nut, a solution to childhood malnutrition in a foil pouch It is a mixture of peanut paste, vegetable oil, milk powder, sugar, vitamins and minerals, blended to create a high protein and energy rich food. In the program, a doctor from Medecins Sans Frontieres called it a miracle. I would have to agree. Within two days on Plumpy’nut a child can gain as much as one pound, rejuvenating them and taking them from near death to healthy. An unopened foil pouch is shelf stable for two years. An open pouch needs no refrigeration. Because the food is so energy dense, a child only needs to eat a little to get a lot of nutrition.

The story amazed me, but within the program, they showed the children feeding on Plumpy’nut amidst total squalor. I wondered–what kind of future is waiting for them. The world saves them from infant mortality, only to endure a life of extreme hardship and insurmountable suffering.

Does a humanitarian ever ask the inevitable question: In a world of rising birth rates and declining resources, it is prudent to save every child.

Obviously, no parent would ever want his or her child to be the one to starve. I am not advocating we should let the hungry starve. No, instead I am asking, is the world doing enough to insure those children minds are fed as much as their bellies? Is the world creating opportunity in an ocean of poverty?

That is the next challenge. Hunger solved, now do not leave them idle, for trouble will follow. An educated society is a civil society. Education leads to commerce, commerce leads to jobs, jobs lead to satisfaction. The only thing poverty leads to is an early death, anger and hostility.