Stories about the people, power and promise of Project Peanut Butter
"I made a commitment to see that this advance actually becomes available to every child who needs it."
- Dr. Mark Manary
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Project Peanut Butter was founded by Mark Manary, M.D., a pediatrician who currently serves as the Helene Roberson Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.
In 1985, Dr. Manary and his wife, Mardi Manary, first moved to Africa to work in a rural hospital in Tanzania. It was here that Dr. Manary realized the extent of malnutrition and the inadequacy of the former standard treatment.
The Manary family moved to Gambia and then New Guinea in the early 90s, where Dr. Manary continued to confront malnutrition.
From 1994 to 1999, Dr. Manary spent time in both Malawi and the United States working with malnourished children and studying the traditional method of treating malnutrition at the time, which consisted of hospital-based care and a milk-based formula.
He was dismayed to find that recovery rates for malnourished children were no better in 1999 than they were when he first worked in Africa in 1985; only about 25-40% of children recovered. He knew he had to come up with a better solution.
In 1999, Dr. Manary spent 10 weeks living in a village in Malawi, becoming familiar with the lives of rural Malawians and what an effective treatment of malnutrition needed to entail. He concluded that the therapeutic food had to be something that didn’t spoil, didn’t need to be cooked, was easy for mothers to give in small amounts to their children at home, and was energy dense.
Dr. Manary's early exploration of home-based therapy evolved into a successful, long-term collaboration with colleague Dr. André Briend, who worked with the World Health Organization, and Nutriset, a French company that produced early versions of Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF).
From 2000 to 2004, the doctors and their small teams tested various formulas with thousands of malnourished children in a series of controlled clinical trials within Malawi. The results of these trials were striking: 95% of these children recovered! Compare that to the 25% to 40% who fully recovered using traditional hospital therapies, and as Dr. Manary said, "You don't need to be a statistician to know this is different and powerful."
Project Peanut Butter was officially founded and began producing food in Malawi in 2004. In 2007, the United Nations, World Health Organization, and World Food Programme recognized RUTF with home-based therapy as the standard of care for severely malnourished children worldwide.
Dr. Mark Manary
Founder and CEO. Dr. Manary currently serves as the Helene Roberson Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Manary has committed his life to solving the problem of child malnutrition. He devotes several months each year to overseeing RUTF production at Project Peanut Butter's factories in Africa and travels from village to village treating thousands of malnourished children.
In addition to his professorship in the United States, Dr. Manary also serves as a Senior Lecturer in Pediatrics at the Medical College of Malawi in Blantyre, Malawi. He has worked intensively in Africa for the past twenty years and has an extensive list of publications reflecting his commitment to developing treatments and preventions of malnutrition.
Dr. Manary received the 2007 World of Children Health Award, as well as the distinguished award of Academic Humanitarian Physician of the Year by the American Association of Medical Colleges for his outstanding work. Dr. Manary is a graduate of MIT and Washington University School of Medicine and currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri, with his wife.
Administrator. Mardi is also a Registered Nurse. She is Dr. Manary’s wife and has spent many years traveling and living with him in Africa.
Director of Communications.
Sara has worked in the St. Louis office since December 2017. She has an M.A. in Communication from Saint Louis University and a background working with local non-profits.
PROJECT PEANUT BUTTER USA
Managing Director of Project Peanut Butter Malawi. Alima has a background in business and management and began working in her current position in 2010.
Production Manager of Project Peanut Butter Malawi. Linda has been with PPB since 2009.
Quality Manager of Project Peanut Butter Malawi. Jane has a degree in Environmental Science and Technology from the Malawi Polytechnic University in Blantyre.
PROJECT PEANUT BUTTER MALAWI
Office Manager: Eliza Phillipo
Assistant Quality Manager: Shadreck Chimndozi
Quality Officer, Field: Mbadya Kamwachale
Factory Engineers: Innocent Nkhoma, Michael Paseli
Production Team Leaders: Regina Senenje, Teliwe Makumba
Production Staff: Diana Nkando, George Grant, Henry Kapalo, Magret Mkaipilana, Chimwemwe Mhango, Thoko M. Maere, Zione Kapapa, Christina Katsonya, Happy Mainga, Linda Somba
Factory Drivers: Imraan Msosa, Davie Kambendera
Guard Supervisor: Simon Magombo
Guards: Yamikani Galimoto, Limbani Eneriko
Director: Dr. Indi Trehan
Associate Director: Paul Schmidt
Secretary: Jennifer Stauber
Treasurer: Roy Sievert
Member-at-large: Joan Sievert
PROJECT PEANUT BUTTER
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Director of Operations based in Kumasi, Ghana. Avery has worked for Project Peanut Butter since 2018. He has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Colorado, and a Masters of Science (MSc) in African and International Development from the University of Edinburgh. He has worked in international development in a variety of capacities throughout sub Saharan Africa and Asia. He specializes in operations and production.
Quality Officer: Catherine Kwamena
Production Officer: Obed Owusu
Production Staff: Daniel Sawin, Evans Adusei, Edith Tuffour, Albert Aberinga, Francis Yeboah
Field Officer: Isaac Akwabeng
Field Staff: Shadrack Ofori
Cleaning Staff: Dinah Tiwaah, Philomina Adjei
Security Guard: Victor Asare
Dr. Tabita Kamara
Quality Manager at Project Peanut Butter Sierra Leone. Dr. Tabita has a PhD in Food Science.
Production Foreman: Alie Bangura
Administrative Officer: Frederick Amara
Office and Field Assistant: Lamin Sesay
Cleaning and Sanitation Officer: Alimamy Kamara
Production Staff: Marian David, Florence Kpakima, John Langba, Umar Fofanah, Mohamed Sesay, Adama Manseray