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Re: The contribution of the private sector and civil society to improve nutrition

02.10.2013
University of Guyana

To Moderator and All Others:

We would have mentioned in an earlier post that the role of the private sector and civil society is not to be understated where the improvement of nutrition is concerned. It would have been mentioned in the description of atop this discussion that “if ‘better access to better food and nutrition for more people’ is an objective we can all agree upon, how can we achieve it and what is required individually and collectively from each sector?”
It is without a doubt that any business entity is established with the principal goal of making profit. In the country that we reside, Guyana, (and probably what we’re about to allure to occurs globally) most entrepreneurs and their top line managers give very little concern as to the nutritional intake of their workers and, given its seemingly weak correlation with improvements in profit, very little and probably none care.
In a country such as ours, given certain cultural impetus, we would firstly have to convey a convincing reason as to why the private sector should get on board with a programme of such nature as the benevolence of entrepreneurs in Lesser Developed Countries is limited to their own humanity (with the exception of a few socially conscious.) Guyana specifically, is a country where many of the major players in the private sector have little education and their achievements in the private sector have only occurred given the acquisition of capital or land by someone in their lineage. Given their lack of formal training, they may not be able to see the benefits of such an initiative. Therefore, it is important in the planning and other initial stages of implementing such a programme in these weaker economies, to give the private sector firstly a reason to get on board with the programme, as it would prove to be far too dangerous to work on the pre-emption that was made.
It is suggested that an education/information programme be conducted as an immediate precedent to the implementation of any programme that requires the private sector to come on board. In this case, it would be of immense assistance if the specific profit oriented benefits would be included in such a programme. The entrepreneurs could be educated on how improvements in nutrition can actually help not only to improve the workers’ productivity and their profit but how utilizing the ‘conscious capitalism’ model could result in them garnering greater social capital and how the perpetually important intangible asset of Goodwill can be exponentially improved.  The end game of such a precursor programme is to truly have the private sector on board throughout the project and even after, as they would have, in addition to initiating their philanthropic conscience, realized the improvements for them as businessmen.
We will be addressing the questions that would have been asked in succeeding posts i.e. ‘how we can achieve it’ & what is required as contribution from each sector.