Posts Tagged: “Shawn Baker”

Promoting Nutrition to Parliamentarians

HKI's Vice President and Regional Director for Africa makes that case for investing in nutrition
Vitamin A Supplementation

This blog post was written by Shawn Baker, Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, about his recent participation in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) 126th Assembly in Kampala, Uganda.

First Ladies, Members of Parliament, a former Head of State – it is not often that you get to speak about nutrition to such an audience. I had the privilege of joining the West African Nutrition Advocate, the former President of Cape Verde, in Kampala, Uganda for the 126th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in early April.

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

HKI responds to East Africa Crisis

This post was written by Shawn Baker, HKI’s vice president and regional director for Africa.

Arriving in the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, it is hard to imagine the gravity of the food and nutrition crisis hitting the Horn of Africa region. Nairobi is a bustling commercial hub for all of East Africa and seems far removed from the horrific images from Somalia and other affected countries. But reading the newspapers and working with partners such as the Kenyan Ministry of Health, UNICEF, World Food Program and Save the Children – you are quickly caught up in the urgency of the response. Nairobi is home to many of the agencies responding to the crisis in Kenya, and most organizations that are working in Somalia also base their operations here. more…

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

A Key Advocate for Better Nutrition in West Africa

President Monteiro

This post was written by Shawn Baker, HKI’s vice president and regional director for Africa.

Nutrition is truly an adventure – and you end up doing so many things that you never even imagined when getting training at university. This last week has been a huge privilege, engaging for four days with one of the most respected statesmen of West Africa, President António Manuel Mascarenhas Gomes Monteiro (photo at left), former head of state of Cape Verde, to discuss the issues of undernutrition in West Africa.

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

How a Transformational Experience Led to a Life Spent in Public Health: Meet HKI’s Shawn Baker

An interview with HKI's Vice President and Regional Director for Africa
shawn with baby

Since Shawn Baker recently blogged about his experiences traveling with NY Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof, we thought it would be a good time to get to know Helen Keller International’s VP and Regional Director for Africa a little better.  I sat down with Shawn who told me of a moving experience he had that helped determine the course of his life and his 29-year career as a leader in public health.

How this marine biologist got into public health: “What most people don’t know about me is that I’m supposed to be a marine biologist. I grew up watching too many Jacques Cousteau documentaries and studied marine biology at University. My foray into international development work started out as a two-year hiatus as a Peace Corps volunteer in what was then Zaïre (now Democratic Republic of Congo), which has ended up being a 29-year hiatus. It just shows the impact a life-changing experience can have.

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Categories Africa, Helen Keller, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles

Blinking Herself Blind

At a truck stop in Niger, Shawn Baker encounters a woman who has gone blind from trachoma
map_of_niger

Shawn Baker’s final blog post from his travels with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof.

On Monday afternoon we headed back towards Niamey and spent the night in Dosso, which is in the southwest corner of Niger. We stayed at the relatively new Zigui Hotel – which had promised to be a step above Magama – but we certainly did not move into the lap of luxury. That evening we ended up in the stadium where traditional wrestling matches are organized to take advantage of the outdoor bar and restaurant.

The next morning, Marily, HKI’s Country Director for Niger, Doug Steinberg, HKI’s Deputy Regional Director for West Africa who had just joined us, and Noreen, one of Kristof’s win-a-trippers, and I headed to the center of town. Dosso is a hub of transportation and the center of town serves as a make-shift truck stop. All vehicles going East and South pass through here.

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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness

Breastfeeding in the Sahel

Shawn Baker visits two villages in Niger where exclusive breastfeeding has become the norm
Diffa Mother Breastfeeding

The next chapter in Shawn Baker’s travels with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof. Kristof’s column on June 22nd, The Breast Milk Cure, also discusses the merits of exclusive breastfeeding. 

We spent the night in the Magama Hotel in Dogon Doutchi. The last time I stayed here was in August 2010 and its services are as rudimentary as I remember. It is a magical time in the Sahel as the start of the rainy season transforms the countryside. It rained last night and we were kept company throughout the evening by a chorus of breeding toads taking advantage of the fresh puddles. The omelets and bread across the street were a welcome start to the day, and almost made up for a less than comfortable night’s sleep.
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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

A 20-Mile Journey for Mariama

Shawn Baker reports from a nutrition rehabilitation clinic in Niger that treats children with acute malnutrition.
Mariama DDoutchi 19 June 2011

Another installment in Shawn Baker’s continuing adventures traveling with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof.

We all met up early at the airport in Dakar to take the flight to Niamey, the capital of Niger. The pilot announced that the ground temperature was 38 degrees Celsius (that’s 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit!) – indicating we had left the relatively cool temperatures of Nouakchott and Dakar behind. Our team in Niamey, led by HKI’s Country Director in Niger, Marily Knieriemen, met us at the airport and we had a late lunch at Marily’s house before heading off to Dogon Doutchi – a market town about 20 km (12.4 miles) from the border with Nigeria.

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

Ferry From Mauritania

Shawn Baker describes his visit to a health center with Nicholas Kristof
map_of_mauritania

Shawn Baker continues his travels with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof, and the two winners of his “Win-A-Trip” contest. Below is his second post.

My only prior trip to Mauritania was in 1987 when I visited the capital, Nouakchott. Having spent over two decades since living in or visiting 30 other African countries, I was not excepting to be surprised. However, from the time we left Senegal last Thursday – my home for the past eight years – to arriving back today, it was a constant source of amazement. Who could have known that all that separated me from a vastly different country was a ferry ride across the Senegal River?

The road between Nouakchott and the border with Senegal is the major economic lifeline of the country but it is hard to imagine that this narrow strip of macadam, eaten away by sand and salt air, regularly covered with sand dunes, and filled with bone-jarring potholes, is what facilitates commerce between two countries; the overall impression is a sparsely populated moonscape.

We stopped at a few places along the way to chat with villagers, so Nick could interview a lactating camel, and finally to visit a health center in the largest town between Nouakchott and Rosso. more…

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

Mauritanian “Wonder” Bread

NY Times Journalist Nicholas Kristof visits a flour mill where there's more than meets the eye.
Kristof & Shawn

HKI’s Shawn Baker and Douglas Steinberg are currently hosting NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof, and the two winners of his “Win-A-Trip” contest – Saumya Dave, who studied writing at Columbia University and medicine at Medical College of Georgia, and Noreen Connolly, a teacher from Newark, NJ – as they travel throughout Senegal, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Shawn and Doug will be blogging throughout the week sharing their insights and experiences as they travel with Kristof uncovering stories in public health. The first post, written by Shawn, is below.

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

The Increase in Food Prices “Costs” More Than We Think

Understanding the food crisis’ effect on nutrition
FAO Food Price Index

This post was written by HKI’s Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, Shawn Baker.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recently announced that food prices have hit a record high. This new surge in food prices has garnered considerable media attention. From articles in the Guardian to The New York Times, people are discussing the reasons for this increase and the effect it will have on the world’s population. Many even think high food prices have sparked the recent wave of political upheaval across North Africa. However, very little attention has been paid to the far more devastating and pernicious impact that the increase in food prices is having on the general public.

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition