I grew up in a region of Germany where access to education, at the time, was a challenge. Without my first primary school teacher’s support and encouragement, like most of my classmates I would have left school after nine years… But I recognized I had more opportunities than hundreds of millions of poor and malnourished children can ever hope for, or an unspeakable number of children displaced by unrest and war can ever dream of.
My dream as a child was to understand nature, an how the human body functions. It lead me to where I am now – a nutrition scientist with a passion for improving the lives of those less fortunate than me. The key was my education (which requires good nutrition), and somebody who recognized my potential, and motivated me to take the next step.
“Nutrition is life-changing – what you feed a child in the first 1,000 days of its life has an unbelievable impact on its development and future potential. But we can still do so much better and so much more, respecting culture and addressing the challenges of implementation, in order to connect culture with biology in the best possible way. A new type of systems thinking is urgently required.” – Klaus Kraemer
Along my journey, I have been blessed to have great mentors. Now, as Managing Director of Sight and Life foundation and adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, I get great enjoyment from engaging with and mentoring young scientist – the next generation of nutritionist, who want to make a real and lasting difference. I find it both energizing and rewarding when they approach me for guidance on training opportunities, or the next step in their career path.
Capacity development is a buzz word and much talked about when it comes to the development agenda, but for me it is much more than training, it’s about personal mentoring, creating future leaders, and connecting the dots, so that we can ultimately change and improve lives.