10 years of innovation & partnership: better nutrition for half a billion people
The Amsterdam Initiative against Malnutrition: An innovative model for nutrition action A GAIN-supported, Dutch partnership model generating collective impact to fight malnutrition
INTRODUCTION In 2009, a new partnership for fighting malnutrition was launched in The Netherlands with support from the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). The Amsterdam Initiative against Malnutrition (AIM) unites the strengths of the public and private sectors to protect millions of base of the pyramid (BoP) consumers from hunger and micronutrient deficiencies. This consumer segment has just a few dollars to spend every day, and is identified as being critical in tackling malnutrition. AIM works to sustainably deliver nutritious products and services to the BoP, to achieve long-term health outcomes, increase individual productivity and ultimately
reduce poverty. When initially formed,
scholarship and know-how of The
it set an ambitious founding vision â€“ to
Netherlands and directs it to the complex
eliminate malnutrition for 100 million
challenges and consequences of global
people across six African countries by
malnutrition. This innovative partnership
2015. This innovative partnership seeks
model is generating substantial interest
to combine concerted effort and expertise
from leading multinationals, government
to achieve collective impact at scale;
and research organizations based in
and accomplish a goal which no single
The Netherlands; where each specialist
organization could possibly manage
brings its own talents and expertise
to the table, and works together as a network to target nutrition through
AIM brings a new focus to GAINâ€™s alliance-based approach to tackling malnutrition. It unites the considerable nutrition, health and food systems-related
Along the entire food value chain - from
The Five Conditions of Collective Impact by the Stanford Social Innovation Review GAINâ€™s collective impact approach to fighting malnutrition was recently featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. AIM builds on this framework at a more regional level using the expertise and knowledge of leading Netherlands-based institutions.
the sourcing of agricultural inputs to when a product is marketed, distributed and consumed - partners contribute their expertise to move projects forward. AIMâ€™s opportunity portfolio ranges from fortifying milk to developing water and health kiosks in Kenyan slums. (See Project Box 1 & 2).
Collective impact by
Building AIM based on
the Stanford Social
the collective impact
All participants have a
All partners share a
shared vision for change
common agenda and
including a common
work towards the focused
Already a healthy product in its own
understanding of the
goal of using market-
capacity, milk can be further fortified to
problem and a joint
based approaches to
contain missing vitamins and minerals
approach to solving it
in diets. In Kenya, milk is a large part
AIM Project 1: Milk fortification in Kenya
through agreed upon
of the dietary intake for children as they
consume milk regularly both as a drink
Collecting data and
Detailed landscaping has
and mixed with cereal. It has therefore
identified the key areas
been identified as an appropriate vehicle
consistently across all
within the supply chain
for fortification and for improving the
where interventions can
nutritional status of infants and young
efforts remain aligned and
have maximum impact
participants hold each other
children starting at age 6 months
as a complement to breast milk. A consumer study in 2011 provided a
Participant activities must
Each partner brings its
better understanding of bottlenecks and
be differentiated while still
own expertise to the
opportunities in the dairy value chain
being coordinated through
table, but work together
a mutually reinforcing plan
in partnership to benefit
and also BoP consumer behaviour. AIM
Consistent and open
communication is needed
across many players to
listens to its partners
build trust, assure mutual
and consumers in the
objectives, and create
development of projects.
As a result, AIM recently extended its country scope from Africa into Southeast Asia.
Creating and managing
AIM is hosted at GAIN,
collective impact requires
but uses its regional
a separate organization
base in Amsterdam to
with staff and a specific
co-ordinate its activities.
set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organizations and agencies.
is now working with local processors to define business cases for fortified milk products.
AIM is on track to deliver tangible and sustainable results, largely due to a careful and detailed exploratory phase.
This important research ensured real buy-in for project opportunities and
AIM’s Founding Partners and the roles they play
support from partners, and addressed the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of The Netherlands. Committed
real needs of consumers. After listening
to strengthening the agriculture sector and food security in developing countries.
to the interests of its partners, AIM
In April 2012, the Dutch government launched a USD 75 million public-private
has expanded its project scope from a
partnership facility to match private investment in nutrition and food security.
central focus in Africa to explore potential opportunities in Southeast Asia, namely
AkzoNobel. A Dutch multinational active in the field of speciality chemicals.
Indonesia and Bangladesh. It has also
AkzoNobel provides the office facilities for the AIM Secretariat.
carefully analysed the needs and desires of BoP consumers to effectively create
DSM. A multinational life sciences and materials science-based company; its global
demand for the products and services it
portfolio includes food and dietary supplements, personal care, pharmaceuticals,
will work to deliver.
medical devices and bio-based materials. DSM is working in partnership on milk fortification as well as the health kiosk project in Kenya.
The use of market channels is increasingly recognised as an
Inter Church Alliance for Development. An inter-church organization which
important tool in this field, particularly
supports and advises organizations and networks for better access to basic facilities,
as population growth and urbanisation
initiating sustainable economic development and enhancing peace and democracy.
create a large Emerging Consumer Class (ECC). Furthermore, these market
Unilever. A British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company, products include
mechanisms contribute to delivering
food, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. Unilever is working
sustainability, and allow governments
in partnership with AIM to develop health and water kiosks in Kenya, and explore
and their donor partners to focus their
targeted fortification products.
own resources on the most vulnerable populations sitting outside the BoP consumer space.
Wageningen University. A Dutch public university training specialists in life sciences, focusing its research on scientific, social and commercial problems. The university is considered world-class in the terms of agricultural science and is one of Europe’s oldest universities teaching nutrition.
AIM Project 2. Health and Water kiosks
Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). An alliance driven by a world
AIM has initiated a pilot project to
access to the missing nutrients in diets necessary for people, communities and
develop a chain of micro-franchises
economies to become stronger and healthier. GAIN hosts the secretariat for AIM,
based on existing water kiosks.
and is involved in all projects.
without malnutrition, GAIN supports global public-private partnerships to increase
These will provide an economical and sustainable outlet to enable access to safe water, nutrition and hygiene products and health services to BoP consumers in urban settings. The health offer to consumers will include an extended range of products and services sold at the water kiosk that contribute to improved health: home filtration devices, nutritious foods and beverages. The model also aims to increase revenue for local entrepreneurs who will be offered to diversify their product portfolio and increase their marketing practices.
AIM has shaped a strong collaboration
among partners and is expanding considerably. Building and uniting this has potential for replication with other
AIM’s early vision: to eliminate malnutrition for 100 million Africans by 2015.
countries, and is a win-win for everyone
Central to AIM’s model is combining the
involved in the partnership, in terms of
know-how of major players in the food
return on investment, learning and social
and nutrition industry in the search for
solutions to malnutrition. Its core objective
strong network of Dutch expertise now
is to create new good quality, affordable food choices in the emerging consumer market at the BoP. It does this by
improving the availability and affordability
Unilever. “Each of us is adding something
of nutritious foods, and also changing
which is slightly different for the project to
the demand pattern to build awareness
make a sustainable impact on health.”
and favour choices for healthier food and products. Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa,
Unilever brings market knowledge,
Ethiopia, Ghana and Mozambique were
branding, and global distribution expertise
originally highlighted as key opportunities
to the table. Meanwhile, GAIN and WSUP
for targeting nutrition through market-
bring vital community mobilization and
integrated development know-how, as well as detailed knowledge of communities,
“Our main target is to make sure we
local relationships, and technical expertise
have an impact on malnutrition using
on water, sanitation, and nutrition.
the consumer segments that have just a few dollars to spend,” said Charlotte
“We really bring together the best
Pedersen, Manager of AIM which is
expertise, and are working on the best
hosted by GAIN. “This isn’t relief; we
options for the community,” added
are focused on trying to stimulate
Ling Ling Phung. “Their needs always
demand for and deliver nutritious
come first, and we’re overlaying a model
products and services that are attractive
which is scalable, sustainable and can
across sectors, we can together address
and affordable for these consumers
make an impact on their lives.”
the challenges of trying to reach poor consumers with nutritious food.”
and which they will continue to buy and use. But we are looking at this from a commercial perspective as well as a
AIM’s key success criteria
social perspective. It has to make long
• Improving quality assurance/quality
term business sense and have a health
control of products that claim to be
AIM’s goal is to achieve long-term
• Creating and enabling a regulatory
The AIM approach is to seek sustainable models for nutrition solutions by mobilising business to deliver products as part of their normal commercial or “core” business, which are not dependent on donations or public subsidy. This is
health outcomes, to increase individual
environment to encourage compliance
vital to sustainably reaching the largest
productivity and to ultimately reduce
with nutrition standards.
percentage of the world’s 2 billion
poverty. One of AIM’s early opportunities, which is generating substantial momentum, is a united public-private partnership to develop and launch a franchise of health kiosks in Kenyan urban slums. AIM brings together Unilever, GAIN and
malnourished who are not ultra poor or • Building BoP consumer awareness and consumer demand. • Creating new distribution channels for BoP.
which offer products and services related to safe water, sanitation and nutrition. In a burgeoning urban environment, this can potentially reach millions of vulnerable
buy much of what they consume. Taking this concept into consideration, the water kiosks project is being delivered as part of Unilever’s business activities and not
• Embedding nutrition in agricultural value chains.
the NGO, Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), to develop outlets
at the edge of survival, and who already
through its corporate social responsibility program. Supporting the delivery of quality
nutritious solutions is dependent on
Brokering a project partnership across sectors.
– adequate water supply, sanitation
consumers and deliver significant impact
“In the long term, AIM’s projects should
become a business case, and not depend on government funding,” Charlotte
“It’s important to have corporates working
Pedersen added. “By uniting the skills of
with NGOs,” said Ling Ling Phung, of
our partners, along the value chain and
a number of factors working together and hygiene. Through its water kiosks project, AIM is focusing on improving the availability of clean water in Kenyan slums. It has already brought together the partnership which is now identifying the right, sustainable model for this nutrition solution.
Working with a completely new market segment.
A key challenge: encouraging sustainable solutions.
Companies may also be hesitant to work with such a new consumer. For AIM, there
The use of market channels is
Working with any consumer market
was initial uncertainty from the private
increasingly recognised as an important
comes with both risks and challenges.
sector to be delivering a new product,
mechanism for ensuring sustained
The creation of more nutrition secure
for a new customer based in a different
access by BoP consumers to nutritious
markets is difficult as the conventional
country. Building trust in any relationship
products and services on a sustained
return on investment takes more time
takes time, and now that evidence for
basis. Through building and uniting this
when reaching the BoP consumer.
market opportunities exists, AIM is in
strong network of Dutch expertise, this
talks to strengthen the partnership with
partnership now has the potential for
replication in additional countries.
A large part of this evidence-base is due
AIM has generated global interest as a
to AIMâ€™s detailed landscaping, which has
new model for market-based interventions
formed a focused and targeted project
to improve nutrition for poor consumers.
pipeline of market-based solutions.
The current financial climate means there
Substantial progress has been made in
is a real interest in business models that
the last year, and projects span the whole
leverage the public and private sectors
value chain to include new partners which
more effectively, and alleviate risk for
complement current partnersâ€™ expertise.
partners in both sectors interested in
Rather than the conventional 2-4 year range, it takes much longer for nutritious products for the BoP to enter the market. Significant barriers to market entry exist, and these can increase the risk and cost compared to more affluent market segments. Creating demand, for example, may require further efforts such as consumer education programs as well as the involvement of social and cultural organizations. As a partnership, everyone involved takes on the risks together and works through the challenges and barriers which may arise. Partners with specific strengths reduce the risk profile during these difficult phases, and this approach can also reduce the overall project costs as well.
Optimizing market channels.
tapping into the BoP market.
This partnership clearly demonstrates how developed countries can mobilise their resources to play a leadership role, drawing on the strengths of government, business and civil society in support of sustainable global development. The model has also generated significant interest from new partners as well, with Rabobank Foundation, Spar International, RijkZwaan and Dadtco in discussions to also participate in AIM projects. Furthermore, the lessons learned so far could also effectively serve others. The Dutch government recently announced the launch of a new public-private partnership facility of USD 75 million to match private investment in nutrition and food security. This added investment further strengthens AIMâ€™s approach to addressing malnutrition, and cements The Netherlandsâ€™ current position as a global leader in the fight against malnutrition.
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Published on May 28, 2012
A GAIN-supported, Dutch partnership generating collective impact Case Story In The Netherlands in 2009, GAIN supported the launch of the Am...