CEO of Action Against Hunger UK, Jean-Michel Grand, on tackling acute malnutrition on a global scale.
Action Against Hunger is active in 51 countries, they have 8,000 staff and assist around 26 million people annually; their turnover is around half a billion euros.
In the UK, they are part of the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee), which brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas.
They are focused on prediction, prevention and treatment of severe malnutrition — especially within a Global South / developing world context.
Encouragingly, there is a treatment for acute malnutrition called “Ready to Use Therapeutic Food” (RUTF) — a treatment that has evolved considerably during the past 20 years — no longer requiring clinical settings nor refrigeration — and today can cure most severely malnourished children around the world.
However, the challenging logistics of reaching remote geographic locations and engaging within armed conflict areas present serious problems.
These problems are exacerbated by the fact many national governments intentionally conceal problems of malnutrition within their populations in order to project a more favourable image to the external world; and by the overall funding gap that must be filled in order to transform the current reality and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
We also learn of Action Against Hunger’s work in supporting and empowering local communities by providing them with the tools to conduct self-diagnosis. The “Mid-Upper Arm Circumference” band (MUAC), is one example of this — a simple colour-coded measuring tape that can be used by parents and caretakers (including those who aren’t able to read) to determine whether a child is malnourished and, if so, to what degree.
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About Jean-Michel Grand
Jean-Michel Grand has been the CEO of Action Against Hunger UK since 2003.
He started his career in the humanitarian sector in 1994 as a logistician during the Bosnian war where he worked for two years before being deployed to mostly conflict and drought related humanitarian crises. He spent the subsequent six years in Chechnya (1996 and 2001), Northern Rakhine state in Myanmar, Tajikistan, Malawi and Zimbabwe, working for Action Against Hunger.
He represents Action Against Hunger UK on the International Executive Committee of the organisation’s International Network (which is present in over 50 countries). He was a board member of VOICE, the network of European Humanitarian NGOs, from 2011 to 2016, currently part of the DEC Board as agency member and has been part of the CEOs' ‘Sounding Board’ on effective management hosted by Bain and Company since 2006. He is also a Director of ACFIN trademark licensing company.
Over the past three decades, Jean-Michel has dedicated most of his efforts to addressing child undernutrition around the world and helping populations affected by humanitarian crises.