Background

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With the gradual reduction of calorie deficient induced malnutrition, meaning not enough food on a daily basis, a new challenge is becoming more and more important: the lack of supply of vital micronutrients, such as vitamins, trace elements or minerals. This form of malnutrition is called hidden hunger and already effects around 2 billion people worldwide. It remains unrecognized (hidden) for a long time, because it occurs independently of the caloric intake and often does not show any clear symptoms for a long period of time.

As so often, children are particularly affected by hidden hunger. The effects of a lack essential nutrients such as iron, iodine, zinc, folic acid or vitamin A during the so-called “first 1,000 days” (calculated from the day of impregnation) are particularly serious and lead to a long-term and almost irreversible impairment of the physical and mental development. In addition, micronutrient deficiencies can even cause structural changes in the genes which are passed directly to the offspring. This way a devil’s circle is created. Consequentially, the health, social and also economic damages of hidden hunger are enormous.

After the successful Teens4Kids competitions in which pupils from all over Germany participated together with their teachers in the fight against hidden hunger in Germany, the Assmann Foundation for Prevention further developed the established concept in cooperation with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The focus of the Student4Kids initiative is now on colleges and universities and the national framework has been expanded: Students4Kids aims to inspire students from Germany and various African partner countries to participate in an international competition against hidden hunger. After a successful start in Zambia last year, this year’s partner country is one of the most important economies in Africa, Côte d’Ivoire. We are happy to have gained the Jacobs Foundation as a strong partner for Ivory Coast and are inviting Swiss students to take part in the competition as well..