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Prevent chronic malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of life

Breakout Session 5


Odisee Hogeschool in cooperation with the Heights & Minds Foundation


The Heights & Minds Foundation helps to grow children's heights and minds so kids can reach their potential and have a fair chance to a happy, healthy, and productive life!

Heights & Minds aims to promote child development and prevent chronic malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of life.

The vision of Heights and Minds is to empower women in underserved communities with the knowledge and tools to promote child development and prevent chronic malnutrition, by providing them with safe and fun places for experience sharing, collaboration, and articulation of local solutions.

By doing this, we contribute to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 "Zero hunger" and SDG 3 "Good health and well-being". 

The MindUp concept
Heights and Minds aims to provide an inspiring learning environment with easy access, especially for young women and their children, where child growth and development promotion services can be offered. This space we call a "MindUp" and they are run by local NGOs. At the MindUp, parents are invited to register their children for growth promotion and development. They will learn regularly about their children's growth and progress and receive counseling by trained MindUp managers (MUMs). Everyone can come to the MindUp to sample new healthy recipes and snacks and learn how to prepare them. All of the MindUps have an internet connection, all counseling is done using digitalized materials, videos and games. Moreover, there is a play corner where children can play with early stimulation toys and books.

The MindUp is a place where parents have the opportunity to learn about child growth and development, healthy feeding practices, nutritious recipes and parenting skills in a fun way.

A Heights & Minds Global Network

Heights and Minds plans to connect and empower all MindUP Managers in a Global Network to share experiences and learn from each other. The Network would house the e-learning modules and materials allowing rapid scale up and expansion of the MindUps in countries around the world.

The students of Odisee Nutrition & dietetics did some valuable assignments, for example:

  • developing a game about nutrition during the first 1000 days of the king (digital and physical)
  • developing healthy recipes with fonio
  • developing healthy juices for children.


Martine Willems

- Lector & responsible internationalization
- Odisee - Food & Nutrition

Martine injects her 25+year experience in the private sector, as coordinator dietician and operational manager in a major hospital, into the education and future of (mostly young) professionals.

Martine puts the student's capabilities and personality first, match them with the best internships, to create a real win-win, in order to get them to deploy their best effort for the job, to learn the most and to become a better professional.

Sigrid Kramer
Public Health and Nutrition Specialist

Sigrid Kramer did her undergraduate in Nutrition and Dietetics and obtained a Master's Degree in Global Health in August 2020. During her undergraduate, she did the minor Global Awareness, which gave her the opportunity to participate in a community project focused on social and economic development in South Africa. Here is where she first learned about the importance of nutrition within the first 1,000 days of life and the lifelong consequences of stunting. Since then, her interest grew in the role of nutrition in maternal and child health. Therefore, she did her undergraduate thesis in Zimbabwe on the affordability and availability of complementary foods. Also, as part of the Master of  Global Health, she chose to do her elective in India which was focused on Public Health with a specification in maternal and child health. She finished her master thesis commissioned by the Heights and Minds Foundation, focused on the main differences in complementary feeding practices between Senegal and Indonesia.

She is now collaborating with the Heights and Minds Foundation to develop high-quality growth promotion tools, materials and e-learning modules and start new MindUps in the near future.

Claudia Rokx
Founder and Chairman of the Board

Claudia Rokx is a health and nutrition expert and a former lead specialist at the World Bank. She founded the Heights and Minds Foundation in 2017 as part of the so-called third phase in the LER life cycle of Learn, Earn, Return. As of January 2020, she dedicates much of her time to Heights and Minds working at the grassroots level and implementing the experience and ideas obtained and developed over the past three decades.

She started her career in development, specializing in child growth, nutrition and women's empowerment in 1990 in the Dominican Republic with Senutri Inc. She spent 5 years working with women in the poor barrios of Santo Domingo and Barahona to improve their knowledge on nutrition, improve the growth of their children, and improve household incomes.

In 1996 she joined the World Bank in Washington DC, and spent the next 25 years working in health and nutrition in over 50 countries.

She has a Ph.D. in International Nutrition Policy from the University of Maastricht, has published a variety of books and articles on health and nutrition, and is a frequent keynote speaker on nutrition and child growth at international conferences.