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On the evening of November 5, 2019, Sight and Life proudly announced the recipient of the 2019 Sight and Life Nutrition Leadership award during the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement Global Gathering (SUN GG) in Kathmandu, Nepal. Basanta Kumar Kar was recognized as a great leader in the nutrition field with the 2019 Sight and Life Nutrition Leadership Award.

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Gerda Verburg, Scaling Up Nutrition Movement Secretariat (left) and Klaus Kraemer, Managing Director of Sight and Life, present Basanta Kumar Kar with the Sight and Life Nutrition Leadership Award

“It’s with humility, respect and a lot of optimism that I accept this honor and thank you to Sight and Life. I dedicate this award to the men and women – the true nutrition warriors – who have been silently waging a war against the scourge of malnutrition, unrecognized, unheard and unacknowledged on the ground,” states Basanta Kumar Kar.

Sight and Life, nutrition, leadership, award, nutrition leadership award, SUNGGRaised in a small village in India, Kar experienced poverty and deprivation first hand. These childhood experiences left an impression, and for him was a motivation to create promising futures for others. Through his professional career he has applied this optimistic vision as a way to eliminate malnutrition and develop human potential, for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. He has held leadership positions at The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security, National Dairy Development Board, CARE, ActionAid International and GAIN providing vast experiences over the past 30 years and deep knowledge of nutrition. This is a reason why, today, he is known as the ‘Nutrition Man’, and is currently the Country Director of Project Concern International in India.  

“Faced with many challenges, Basanta continuously pushes forward with passion resulting in many positive changes to improve nutrition throughout India, “ expressed Klaus Kraemer, Sight and Life’s Managing Director, “Here at Sight and Life we have a vision of an improved world and one free from malnutrition, Basanta embodies this mission and has transformed systems in order to advance nutrition goals and therefore making more prosperous futures for many.”

In Bangladesh, he was instrumental in the mandatory food fortification legislation, where now 85% of the population are benefiting from vitamin-A fortified vegetable oil. In his home state of Odisha, he is co-leading a comprehensive strategy to make advances against the triple burden named “Mission Filaria, Malaria, and Malnutrition-Free Odisha”.

He built ‘The Nutrition Coalition’ in India, and recently, he was recognized by the Government of India for his leadership in supporting The Prime Minister’sNational Nutrition Mission, India’s flagship program to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant and lactating mothers. 

In addition to writing many scientific articles, he also translates his passion for improving the lives of others through poetry. ‘The Unfold Pinnacle’ is a series of poems sharing real life stories on nutrition and health issues of marginalized women and girls.

Kar joins an inspiring group of past recipients of the Sight and Life Nutrition Leadership Award, such as David Nabarro, Robert Black, Anna Lartey, Shawn Baker, Ellen Piwoz, and Shilpa Bhatte. Congratulations to this very deserving leader in receiving the 2019 Sight and Life Nutrition Leadership award, who is diligently working to change the face of nutrition for the better.