The Man Who Feeds 1.2 Million Kids A Day
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Running a massive school meals program that feeds malnourished kids, Manoj Kumar is on a mission to show how entrepreneurs can make real inroads in tackling India’s age-old social problems.
It’s hard to appreciate the scale of hunger in India because the scale is so vast. In some parts of the country (population: 1.2 billion), two out of every five kids are thought to be malnourished. Sub-Saharan Africa may have higher proportions of people who are hungry, but India still has the highest numbers of people who go without food.
Manoj Kumar has a theory about why that is. It’s because hunger isn’t a communicable disease: Unlike tuberculosis or AIDS, you can’t catch it from someone else. So, there’s less incentive for elites to deal with the problem, because they aren’t at risk. That and another reason: The historic inefficiency of public services in India, and the limited capacity of its social sector. In the past, he says, nonprofits have tended to focus on activism rather than problem-solving.