MoveforMANA: Students, Schools, and Supporters Saving Lives


KSS is saving children’s lives, and you can help! Deeds beneficiary to oneself as well as to others seems moderately implausible, and quite honestly, very much a paradox; yet, proof of such a concept presents itself, readily available, easy to accomplish, and eager with purpose. 


On a more somber note, children are enduring the hardship of severe acute malnutrition and are struggling to live. Each year, one million children die as a result of SAM. According to the World Health Organization, 45% of all reported deaths of minors come as a result of malnutrition.


To participate in MOVE4MANA one simply must log their physical activity. Those who download the ActiveForGood app may sign up, all for free, and are able to log their physical activity to earn goodpoints. Collected goodpoints earn Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Food packets that are then sent to several countries. With every two hundred goodpoints, Food For Famine supplies one RUTF packet to a child suffering from severe acute malnutrition. 


RUTF (Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Food) is a nutrient aid consisting of that which a child requires to become healthy. This peanut-butter based source is administered by the child’s mother through an easy to use packet. If ingested three times a day over a six week period, a child will gain the necessary weight to be considered healthy.


Students from many schools across British Columbia are banding together, in an effort to implement and encourage student bodies of varying schools to participate in MOVE4MANA. By starting a challenge within their school, students select a specified country to donate to (available countries to donate to are listed, and start logging in physical activity for the duration of their challenge. 


Doubtful indeed, “too good to be true” comes to mind when those new to the MOVE4MANA initiative are introduced. It’s sad really, that when one encounters a perceived good cause with, essentially, an immediate eye of scrutiny. 


If one continues to find themselves questioning the motive behind the process in which this cause is made a reality, there is an explanation that goes as follows:


The Food for Famine Society provides the financial means for the cause, and based on school challenges and earned packets, support the purchase of RUTF packets. MANA Nutrition, a non profit organization, just as Food For Famine or FFF, based in Georgia, manufactures RUTF packets, and upon purchase, supplies FFF. Responsibility of distribution falls toward World Vision Canada, where they ensure that all packets are transported and arrive at their intended destination. 


The entirety of the process is complex indeed, but through the teamwork of these three organizations, as well as some schools, saving lives can be achieved. With a lot of great feats and ideas, trial and error is not uncommon, and prior to 2009, the year in which this specific cause came to fruition, the founder was not exempt from this.


Maria Martini, the founder and co-ordinator who initiated the partnership between FFF, WVC, and MANA Nutrition, had first hand faced the difficulties of cultivating this proposition.


Proceeding a viewing of a segment of 60 minutes, where Anderson Cooper reports on “Plumpy Nut” similar to that of an RUTF packet, and the mass amount of children that are affected by SAM, Martini was deeply motivated. “I knew that I wanted to help,” she says, and subsequently  decided to take action; the following morning she had begun the journey of finding the FFF and partnership that would protect youth. 


The original blueprint for what Maria had in mind, involved having the packets manufactured within the countries that would be donated to, thus eliminating the complication of shipment and distribution. A year of research toward the cause was spent with this mindset, but be that as it may, this approach was far too expensive to implement. Thus, putting forth the idea for what the FFF and partnership is today.


By getting schools involved through challenges and the app, FFF has not only been dedicated to saving lives consistently, but has also ensured that younger generations are inspired and will take on this paramount task in the future.“I couldn’t have dreamed it,” says Maria Martini, “what the schools are doing and what the students are doing.” Martini is passionate about getting schools involved, and by doing so, she says, “we’re helping them find their heart.”


Students who have been promoting and helping organize aspects of challenges within their school, have been able to do so through starting clubs. Yet, there is much to learn and be responsible for, given only the time students have to spare outside of their course schedule and extra curriculars. In fact, a teacher at Heritage Woods Secondary in Port Moody named Marilyn Nunn, has managed to create a year long class committed to MOVE4MANA. “That’s the dream for me,” says Martini, “that there could be a class.”


Martini believes that “the learning and the skills that students are gaining from being a part of this,” is enough for a class. The education, the cause,“everythings a total bonus” she claims. “I go to classrooms and cry… I want to inspire them, and that became my passion along with [the] Food For Famine Society.” 


Whether classes are made or clubs are continued, lives are being saved regardless, and awareness of severe acute malnutrition and how one can help is integral. 


On Oct 16 on World Food Day, Kelowna Secondary started its month-long challenge of the school year. Students, staff, and friends of the school are able and encouraged to participate and make a difference. 


It’s not too late to sign up! Go to the app store – Apple or Android – and download the free Active For Good app, and make an account. Students of KSS are able to do so easily by using their email. 


If one is not a student, but still wishes to participate in this profound cause – please join! To sign up, one must first send a quick note to “[email protected],” providing their email address, the challenge they wish to join, and how they are affiliated with KSS. Once logged in, use the event code KSSM4M to join the current challenge taking place from Oct 16 to Nov 14 and start logging physical activity immediately. It’s just that simple!


Through this month-long challenge, the KSS MOVE4MANA club will be hosting weekly activities during lunch hour, and all students are invited to sign up and participate. In this way, the school can have some fun while simultaneously earning goodpoints! All participants are eligible for prizes, which include but are not limited to: an Android tablet, an Iphone, air pods, and an Apple watch. 


Join the challenge and be the change in the world that is so desperately needed. Sign up, get active, win prizes, and save lives!


Lastly, a few words from Maria Martini herself to encourage all those participating, “[you’re] making a difference in the lives of children [with your] willingness to get active, I want [you] to recognize the result and what that means… I just want to thank [you].” Maria Martini has a vision for a new and better world, and it depends on the physical activity and heart of all those willing and able to give it. By taking part, you can and will make a brighter future.