Steve Collins

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2009


This profile was prepared when Steve Collins was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Steve Collins, a medical doctor with a doctorate in nutrition, is changing the architecture of nutritional treatment, and transforming the practices, principles, and strategy towards the care and prevention of malnutrition. Traditional centralized feeding centers – formerly the primary method for treating acutely malnourished people - are ineffectual, incubators for disease, and require extended in-patient treatment regimes that uproot lives. Steve is decentralizing treatment programs, creating many local centers, bringing treatment out to homes and villages and equipping communities with the know-how and tools to diagnose and administer their own treatment through a method called “community-based therapeutic care.” He has also helped orchestrate the spread of Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs), a highly nutritious and portable feeding option that is locally produced and distributed, and applied as an emergency remedy as well as a preventative method against malnutrition. RUTF is an oil-based nutritional paste (in large part peanuts or corn/soya, milk powder, sugar, and vitamins and minerals) that comes in safe, contaminant-resistant packets.

Steve has established the first hybrid business citizen sector organization in Ireland, coupling a for-profit company with a non-profit arm to manufacture and distribute the food source and disseminate his methods. Building on the infrastructure built by existing COs in the field, six years after initial pilots Steve’s organization is has been active in thirty-five countries and his innovation has been adopted by the main United Nations organizations involved in the treatment and prevention of malnutrition (World Health Organization, UNICEF and World Food Program) as recommended policy under the name Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition. Over twenty developing countries and the majority of governments and citizen sector organizations working in nutrition in the developing world are moving towards adoption of his model.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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