Mark Maingard of Outside The Bowl Africa explains why empowering the youth is key to food security and nutrition
By Charndré Emma Kippie
Mark Maingard is the Managing Director of Outside The Bowl Africa (OTB Africa), an NGO on a mission to eradicate childhood hunger through the work they do in the Western Cape, South Africa, and the African continent as a whole. The Wellington-based non-profit company has just launched its Hunger Campaign to the public – doing its part to help combat childhood hunger globally. They are now calling on the public to donate to this worthy cause. Outside The Bowl Africa provides training in various areas in order to impart the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and any entrepreneurial endeavours that they may embark on. These include life skills and hospitality training. OTB Africa also partners with other NPC’s to provide products and donations across the African continent.
Mark Maingard was ‘called’ to feed the hungry, and Marais Greyling, to train disadvantaged Youth in Hospitality. This was not by chance. It was an intervention and plan that was inevitable. Their journey began on 29 May, 2016, starting with renovating and equipping a derelict facility in Paarl. On 29 July, 2016, the first batch of 200 meals were delivered to Magda’s Soup Kitchen. Today, Mark is dedicated to manufacturing and providing 500 000 ambient, nutritional meals per day by 2025, and hopes to eradicate hunger by 2030.
Please could you tell us a bit about Outside The Bowl Africa.
We started our initiative in 2016. Outside the Bowl Africa is a full profit food production company that specialises in developing and producing food that is high in nutrition to feed the neediest in our communities. Our long term vision is to feed the vulnerable and hungry by providing at least 500,000 meals a day and uplifting the youth.
You’re doing amazing work with the recent Hunger Campaign. How did this initiative come about?
People go hungry on a regular basis, mainly because of a shortage of money. They spend days and sometimes even weeks without proper nutritious food in their homes. The growing pandemic now sees 7 million people unable to afford to feed themselves daily. This is a crisis and an outrage, and we all need to join forces to fight the hunger pandemic.
Childhood hunger traps children in a cycle of poverty and indigence, and we would like to call on other institutions to assist us with funding and support to provide these children with the vital nutrition they need to break this cycle. We aim to provide as many people as possible with a daily nutritional meal, to ensure that they reach their potential and take our nation into a better, brighter future.
What 3 tips do you have for how businesses can get more involved in NGOs?
- Consider the broader picture — businesses need to invest in local communities as well as their core purpose, which could present opportunities for NGOs.
- Ask for goods in kind – Business donations don’t always have to be financial — companies can offer goods in-kind or time and expertise.
- Get more involved within your own community – try and take small steps to contribute to the bigger picture.
Child hunger is a major issue in Africa. In your opinion, what solutions do we need to take action right now?
According to the statistics right now, 226.7 million people are starving across Africa. The countries most affected by extreme poverty and hunger in Africa are mainly those located south of the Sahara. We must prioritise improving food assistance, including emergency feeding schemes, and better access to proper resources for all those in need. Hunger is an issue that should not be taken lightly.
What is your ‘why’ i.e. Bottom line? And how do you stay motivated?
My ‘why’ is my relationship with God and I am guided by my faith and values. I felt a calling to serve and have compassion for those in need. I am motivated by the amount of hungry children who require assistance – something must be done to fix issues around food security.
To date, what have been some of your biggest career moments?
I’d have to say one of my fondest memories was being able to cater for Madiba’s 90th birthday in 2008. It was truly such an honour.
Have you read any books that have inspired you and your career thus far?
- The Four Legs of the Table: Raymond Ackerman’s Simple Straight-forward Formula for Success – By Denise Prichard and Raymond Ackerman
- Long walk to freedom – By Nelson Mandela
Outside of work, are you involved in any extracurricular activities?
I love playing golf and reading autobiographies in my downtime.
What advice do you have for future generations of entrepreneurs who aspire to have a great social impact?
- Challenge yourself – do better, be better.
- Find your purpose, passion, and be involved in work or initiatives that you actually care about.
- Always believe in yourself and have positive internal dialogue with yourself.
- Get clarity on your vision for your life ahead.
- Take care of yourself, your health and mental wellbeing.
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