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Stories about the people, power and promise of Project Peanut Butter

Project Peanut Butter

Project Peanut Butter
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Our Start

 "I made a commitment to see that this   advance actually becomes available   to every child who needs it." 

 - Dr. Mark Manary 



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.

Our Team


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.

MarDI Manary

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.

Sara Shaban

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. 



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.

 Jane Milanzie

Quality Manager of Project Peanut Butter Malawi. Jane has a degree in Environmental Science and Technology from the Malawi Polytechnic University in Blantyre.



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





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





Hershey partners with Energize Learning, Project Peanut Butter to feed school children in Ghana (June 23, 2015)

Is Peanut Butter the Best Present for Malnourished Teen Moms-To-Be? (May 9, 2015)


The Status of Project Peanut Butter's Ready-To Use Therapeutic Food: From Formula to Lifeline (April 24, 2015)


Celebrating Women Today and Every Day: International Woman's Day 2015 (Mar 7, 2015)


New approach to childhood malnutrition may reduce relapses, deaths (Feb 10, 2015)


The Battle Against Childhood Malnutrition-Project Peanut Butter's Mission (Feb 6, 2015)


Compressed Gas Technologies Partners with Project Peanut Butter (Jan 28, 2015)


Hershey-funded operation now producing life-saving therapeutic food (December 17, 2014)


Ebola outbreak puts Washington U research on hold (October 10, 2014)


Project Peanut Butter (an article in Rotary International's Alleviate Hunger Fall 2014 publication) (Sept 2014)


Peanuts Help Treat Malnourished Pregnant Women in Malawi (July 17, 2014)


Peanut Butter that Saves Lives (july 17, 2014

A Transformative Way to Fight Hunger: Strengthening the Food Sector, Sustaining Communities (April 14, 2014)


Endue and Project Peanut Butter announce new partnership (April 8, 2014)


Project Peanut Butter Factories: Saving Young Lives in Africa (March 21, 2014)


Speaker Will Talk of RUTF Used to Treat Severe Malnutrition (February 27, 2014)


University’s research key in new international guidelines for treatment of severe malnutrition (December 5, 2013)


This simple food could end world hunger (Oct 13, 2013)


Peanut butter saves children (Sept 28, 2013)


Mark J. Manary: Saving starving African children a few thousand at a time (March 5, 2013)


Malnourished Gain Lifesaver in Antibiotics (January 30, 2013)


Maplewood couple runs global charity, saves lives (March 12, 2012)

HuffPost Greatest Person of the Day: Dr. Mark Manary Treats Malawi's Malnourished Kids (July 28, 2011)


Malawi: Cheaper recipe for treating hungry children (February 24, 2009)

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