Experts were pumped when they realized why Bangladeshi kids started growing taller.

How can you measure progress in a developing country? In Bangladesh, you can do it with a yardstick.

Image via Akram Ali/CARE.


Over the past 12 years, something incredible happened in Bangladesh: The kids grew taller than usual.

It's a discovery that, at first, left many development and nutrition experts scratching their heads. Just how — in parts of a country that lead the world in malnutrition and where global grain shortages are rampant — are children growing taller than usual?

When the experts fit the pieces all together, the results were amazing.

Bangladesh's kids grew taller because the country focused on its women.

We live in a world where millions of children aren't able to grow as big as they should because of a condition often referred to as stunting. It happens when kids are malnourished — and it happens a lot. More than 3 million children under the age of 5 die every year because of malnourishment.

But that's started to change in countries like Bangladesh.

In 2004, the poverty-fighting organization CARE, USAID, and the Bangladesh government teamed up to launch the SHOUHARDO project (which means “friendship” in Bangla and also stands for Strengthening Household Ability to Respond to DevelopmentOpportunities). At the time, they didn't realize the how much focusing on women's empowerment in the country would affect its children.

Image via Akram Ali/CARE.

From 2006 to 2009, the country decreased stunting in its children by 28%.

That's nearly double the average of the typical food security project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

How'd they manage to do it? By providing women with resources that improve maternal health outcomes, access to safe sanitation, household assets, maternal education, and access to health services.

The benefits of the project go well beyond the lives of the women in the project — they spill into the lives of their families, their communities, and to the next generation.

It’s the best kind of domino effect.

Image via Josh Estey/CARE.

“Women who participated in the empowerment interventions were getting better antenatal care, eating more nutritious food and getting more rest during pregnancy,” said TANGO International’s Lisa Smith, lead author of a paper about the project.

“They and their children also had better diets in terms of the variety of foods.”

We can prove that developing countries can help their kids to grow taller and healthier when organizations and governments work together.

Bangladesh's multidimensional approach to reducing childhood stunting should have world leaders taking notes.

And right now is the perfect time to grab them a pen.

Image via Akram Ali/CARE.

On Aug. 4, 2016, global leaders and governments are convening at the Second High Level Summit on Nutrition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

There, they’ll discuss their roles in fighting hunger and malnutrition around the world. It'll be the largest, most important event to address global nutrition issues until 2020.

But as we know, talking isn’t enough. Governments will need to make policy changes and commit more resources to reducing the number of children affected by malnutrition — and that's exactly why the Generation Nutrition coalition is advocating for three main goals out of Rio: calling on world leaders to commit to action, building sustainable communities to focus on prevention, and making sure every child has the treatment they need.

Image via Generation Nutrition.

Why does this matter? Well, food plays a critical role in virtually every aspect of the world’s future.

And, currently, only 4% of aid has a direct impact on nutrition. That's a problem.

When you consider food as a basic need of survival, it’s hard to argue that percentage shouldn’t be higher. Kids with a healthier shot at life will end up saving us big bucks in the long run, as problems from poor health and poverty only get worse and more expensive the longer they go on.

Seeing how women's empowerment can directly affect a child's ability to grow taller and healthier shows just how connected global issues are. It can help us more easily disrupt the cycle of poverty — and create a future where kids can grow to be their best selves.

The nutrition summit is an opportunity to help set a path toward better nutrition and futures for our world's children. But it's up to our leaders to actually help make that path a clearer one.

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Gates Foundation: The Story of Food

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture