For anyone freaking out about finals and questioning their life plans, don't despair. You don't need to be a celebrity to do something amazing like combating world hunger. You can be a college student with a good idea and a bit of motivation, as is the case of three UChicago grads who are attempting to tackle chronic malnutrition on a world stage.

The Beginning 

coffee, tea, beer
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It started with Elizabeth asking two friends, Gabby and Joyce, if they wanted to be part of a UChicago social enterprise competition. The three grabbed coffee, and after an hour, they proposed mealworms as a way to address malnutrition for the competition.

Mealworms don't require much water or space, they thrive in a variety of climates, and can be turned into protein-rich powder that can be incorporated into existing local foods. Consequently, they can be used in baked goods, which can be eaten to provide an additional source of protein, or sold as a way to generate revenue.

The first component directly addresses malnutrition by increasing the amount of protein in one's diet. The second tackles issues which are tied to malnutrition: low income, lack of economic opportunity, and deteriorating environment. 

muesli, cereal, granola, cake, sweet
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They didn't win the social enterprise competition. But they thought there was merit in their idea, so after meeting with professors and experts at UChicago, they applied to the regional round of the Hult Competition, the Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge, Bay Area Global Health Innovation Challenge, and UChicago’s College New Venture Challenge. 

Through these competitions, they got enough funding to turn this hypothetical case competition into a real organization: MealFlour. As their senior year wrapped up, they designed a model for how their MealFlour plan could be implemented in Guatemala.

What's happening now? 

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Now that they've graduated, the three have partnered with a clinic in Palajunoj Valley (a region severely affected by high rates of malnutrition), a bakery called La Mandarina, and PEILE (an NGO which provides vocational trainings and education programs to encourage kids to remain in school). MealFlour runs trainings on how to build and maintain mealworm farms in addition to cooking/baking classes for how to use the mealworms.

Due to their initial success, MealFlour is hoping to expand into other communities and see if the positive effects felt by this community will also manifest in other places. 

Where do you (yes, you) fit into the story?

MealFlour is currently having a crowdfunding campaign that runs to the end of the calendar year. Feel the giving spirit of this time of year by giving up a couple coffees or nights out and DONATE HERE.

I mean, who doesn't want updates on worms? Do it for the story and the weird factoids for your friends. MealFlour is proof you don't have to follow a rigid life plan. Follow what interests you, talk to your friends, take advantage of random opportunities. You could come up with something amazing and end up feeding people worms post-graduation. Bet you didn't put that in the five-year plan.