An Unexploited Resource

Deme Apostolou, OpEd Editor

When one thinks about unexploited resources, they probably think more in the realm of new sources of energy.  But, the most unexploited resource in the world right now is the minds of malnourished children

A quarter of the children of the world are stunted by malnourishment.  In places like Guatemala, the percentages rise to almost half of kids under the age of 5.

This malnourishment leads to stunting in the growth of young kids. Stunting not only causes children to be short, the bigger problem is that it impairs brain development.  According to certain studies, kids with inadequate diets are seen to not perform as well in school.  With poor brain development, the cycle of poverty continues.

The damage done by malnourishment to a child in the first two years of its life is often irreversible, yet less than 1% of global foreign assistance goes to helping the problem.  Furthermore, nutrition programs are inexpensive and among the cheapest ways to fight poverty worldwide.

Organizations such as the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund are tackling this problem in Guatemala by building school gardens paired with education about nutrition and healthy living.  Their goal is to have 300 gardens built by the end of the year.  Their mission is to make sure that even the poorest people in the world have an equal share in worldwide development.

According to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, “The implication is that billions of I.Q. points are lost to malnutrition, and that the world’s greatest unexploited resource is not oil or gold but the minds of hungry children.”

So next time the topic of discussion is unexploited resources, include the minds of kids who didn’t have a chance to reach their full potential from the world’s lack of assistance in the biggest problem affecting our society.