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Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition

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Title: Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition  
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Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition

GAIN - Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition
Founded 2002
Type Independent non-profit foundation
Key people

Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director

Jay Naidoo, Chairman of the GAIN Board

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is an independent non-profit foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland. GAIN was developed at the UN 2002 Special Session of the General Assembly on Children.[1]


  • Vision and Mission 1
  • GAIN’s Work 2
  • Programs 3
    • More nutritious staple foods for populations at large 3.1
    • Good Nutrition for Mothers and Children 3.2
    • Agriculture and Nutrition 3.3
    • Measuring Impact 3.4
  • Building a Global Nutrition Movement 4
    • Engaging the Global Community 4.1
    • Building Public and Private Partnerships 4.2
  • GAIN Operations 5
    • Where GAIN Works 5.1
    • Funding and Expenses 5.2
    • Board Members 5.3
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

Vision and Mission

GAIN is an organization driven by the vision of a world without malnutrition. The alliance’s mission is to reduce malnutrition through sustainable market-based strategies aimed at improving the health and nutrition of populations at risk. GAIN’s overall target is to improve the nutrition of one billion people. To achieve its goal, GAIN works to reduce malnutrition by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of markets to reach the base of the pyramid. GAIN mobilises public private partnerships to implement innovative and sustainable market-based solutions at scale.

GAIN’s Work

GAIN works with diverse partners – governments, international organization partners, Africa and 31 percent in Asia.

GAIN’s collective impact approach in the nutrition sector has been lauded by the Stanford Social Innovation Review[2] as a model of collaboration that achieves large scale progress in the face of the urgent and complex problems of our time. The Harvard Business Review[3] has also praised GAIN’s innovation in pushing businesses to develop nutritious food products for the base of the pyramid.

GAIN has launched public-private partnerships to support market-based nutrition solutions in nutrition interventions areas including: large scale food fortification; : large scale food fortification; maternal, infant and young child feeding; and agriculture and nutrition.

  • Large scale food fortification. In Ghana, GAIN has helped introduce an inexpensive and rapid tool to monitor the quality of vitamin A-fortified vegetable oil.
  • Maternal, infant and young child feeding. In Bangladesh, GAIN is supporting an innovative partnership between the pharmaceutical company Renata and the NGO BRAC to provide a better future for millions of infants 6 to 24 months of age through increasing their access to affordable multi-nutrient powders that can be added to local foods. In the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, GAIN is working with AP Foods to expand its capacity to produce a powder made up of cereals, pulses, oil and sugar and fortified with vitamins and minerals. The powder is distributed through the Integrated Child Development Services to millions of mothers and children.
  • Agriculture and nutrition – In Kenya, day to day food security depends largely on maize, dairy and horticultural crops. The GAIN Institute of Development Studies’ supported rapid assessment tool that links agriculture and nutrition has been applied to these commodities and has identified opportunities to better integrate nutrition outcomes into agricultural programs. The value chains of ingredients that are used to make complementary foods for infants and young children in southern and southeastern Kenya will be evaluated to determine where nutrient loss can be mitigated as these crops move from farm to fork.

Programs are contributing to public health impact in the developing world, including:

  • 30% reduction in anemia among women of child bearing age in China;[4]
  • 30% reduction in neural tube defects in newborns in South Africa;[5]
  • 37% decrease in the prevalence of anemia among children 2 and 5 years old in Morocco;[6]
  • 5% reduction in vitamin A deficiency and 7% reduction in zinc deficiency in schoolchildren in Nigeria[7]


GAIN's program portfolio is based on proven and cost-effective approaches. Programs support large-scale food fortification, multi-nutrient supplements, nutritious foods for mothers and children, and enhancement of the nutritional content of agriculture products.

More nutritious staple foods for populations at large

GAIN’s Large Scale Food Fortification Program aims to increase sustainable consumption of staple foods and condiments fortified with essential vitamins and minerals among populations at large in target countries. Key goals include increasing coverage of key micronutrients (vitamin A, iodine, iron, zinc, folic acid) to more than 500 million women and children and reduction of key deficiencies by 20-30 percent. Projects fortify staple foods and condiments including vegetable oil, maize meal, rice, wheat flour, vegetable oil, salt, sugar, soy sauce and fish sauce - relying on business to fortify products and governments to establish appropriate legislation and regulation. The program supports innovative ways of reaching the hard to reach through market-based channels and public distribution.[8]

For example, in Kenya, GAIN and the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation are partnering with industry to scale up the country’s large-scale food fortification program, which is adding essential vitamins and minerals to widely consumed maize flour, wheat flour and vegetable oil. All major millers and oil processors have committed to fortification as part of the program.

Good Nutrition for Mothers and Children

GAIN’s Nutritious Foods for Mothers and Children Program aims to improve the nutritional status of children under 2 and pregnant and breastfeeding women. The program seeks to reach 20 million beneficiaries by reducing vitamin and mineral deficiencies by 20-30 percent and stunting by 5-10 percent.[9]

GAIN’s efforts in this area support in-country production and distribution of high-quality, affordable, low-cost fortified foods for young children which complement breast milk, and development and improved access to nutritious foods for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The focus is placed in particular on the development of adequate delivery models to ensure access to, and demand for and use of, products by target populations.

For example, in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh, GAIN is working with AP Foods to expand its capacity to produce a powder made up of cereals, pulses, oil and sugar and fortified with vitamins and minerals. The powder is distributed through a large government-supported program - the Integrated Child Development Services - to millions of mothers and children.

In 2010-2011, GAIN reached an estimated 1.3 million infants with better nutrition.

Agriculture and Nutrition

Supporting the production, processing and use of more nutritious agricultural crops and enhancing the quality of staple foods (through improved seeds, fertilizers and milling and storage practices) are two strategies for bringing better nutrition to vulnerable populations in a sustainable way. Taken together these efforts can also increase effective yields for poor farmers and improve their health and livelihoods.

Ensuring that the food system works to improve nutritional value means more than simply increasing production and making sure there is enough food to feed the world’s population. Nutritional quality needs to become a measurable objective in agricultural programs, and embedded within the pillars of food security. Strategies for integrating health, nutrition and agriculture are reflected in the Scaling Up Nutrition movement, and are gaining momentum both nationally and in global thinking.

GAIN has recently expanded its program portfolio to Agriculture and Nutrition. This program will support local, national and international agriculture, health and nutrition programs to improve access to nutritious foods through market-based interventions along the agricultural value chain. An early example of our work here is a rapid assessment of the value chains of Bangladesh staples (rice, fish and horticultural crops) to better link agricultural programs with positive nutrition outcomes.

Measuring Impact

GAIN assesses the impact of its programs and works with implementing partners to collect evidence of project progress and impact against specific targets and indicators. GAIN supports baseline and end line surveys, independent reviews of projects and end-of-project evaluations. It also funds research that provides evidence of the benefits of investing in nutrition programs that address vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Building a Global Nutrition Movement

Engaging the Global Community

A critical component of GAIN’s efforts has been positioning nutrition as central to the global health and development platform, as poor nutrition is clearly an impediment for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. GAIN supports enhanced advocacy efforts at the national, regional and international levels, to enhance the policy environment to reach scale, raise the profile of nutrition and ultimately increase human and financial resources to address malnutrition.

In 2011, as part of its expanded advocacy program, GAIN launched Future Fortified, a global campaign to improve the nutrition of mothers and children through support for GAIN programs and related global nutrition advocacy efforts.

GAIN is also a strong supporter of the Scaling Up Nutrition movement (SUN), a collective global movement to scale up evidence-based nutrition interventions, and the 1,000 Days partnership promoting investment in nutrition from conception to a child’s second birthday. GAIN is part of the SUN Transition Team, which provides leadership to the movement, and the SUN Private Sector Task Force. GAIN joined with partners to establish the 1,000 Days Partnership and the implementation of its programs are helping to strengthen the initiative.

Building Public and Private Partnerships

Market-based approaches to nutrition are an essential part of the way GAIN does business. Over 90 percent of food and beverages in the developed world, and increasingly in emerging markets too, are produced or delivered by the private sector. GAIN engages with the private sector to improve efficiencies and effectiveness of markets.

The GAIN Business Alliance (BA) is a partnership platform for networking and knowledge sharing aimed at identifying new business models to address malnutrition at the base of the pyramid. The BA has more than twenty members, all leaders in the food processing sector: Ajinomoto Group, AkzoNobel, BASF, Bel Group, Britannia Industries Ltd, Cargill Incorporated, The Coca-Cola Company, Dal Group, Groupe Danone, DSM, Essentient, Firmenich, Fortitech, Hexagon Nutrition, Indofood, Kemin, Kraft, Mars Inc, Mano, Nutriset, Pepsico Inc, Tetra Pak and Unilever.

The Amsterdam Initiative against Malnutrition (AIM) is a coalition of the ICCO and GAIN that aims to work with others to end malnutrition in Africa by 2015 through initially targeting six countries: Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana and Mozambique. In Kenya, AIM has initiated a milk fortification project and a market study to get insight into consumer attitudes towards fortified milk. AIM partners have also identified distribution channels for nutritious foods that reach base of the pyramid populations (BOP), including safe water kiosks, milk bars, and school feeding programs. The initiative also began supporting the Kenya Nutritionists and Dieticians Institute, to create demand for nutrition through strengthening capacity development, policy and advocacy, and public engagement. Going forward, AIM will increase focus on market insight and BOP consumer aspirations to ensure nutritious products are not only accessible and affordable but also desirable.

GAIN’s Innovative Finance Program aims to:

  • Create incentives for large and small companies to focus on and invest in nutrition
  • Build on and maintain the medium-term and long-term sustainability and predictability of resource flows to the nutrition sector
  • Create an opportunity for investors seeking new themes for investment that improve development outcomes

To achieve these objectives, GAIN has created investment structures with select financial partners that provide organizations with access to capital and the critical sector expertise they need while creating the ability to share risk.

The Access to Nutrition Index, which started in 2009, tracks how well the food and beverage industry provides nutritious products to consumers. The methodology was developed by GAIN, and is jointly funded by GAIN, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust. The index aims to increase consumers’ access to more nutritious products and ultimately contribute to addressing the serious global problems of both undernutrition and obesity. It will allow food and beverage companies to benchmark their performance on nutrition against their peers, and it will serve as a platform that provides stakeholders – from investors to consumers and policymakers – with information that they can use to inform their decisions and their programs. The index also seeks to promote nutrition as an investible theme within the investment community.[10]

GAIN Operations

Where GAIN Works

GAIN currently employs 100+ professionals in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, who work on various projects in more than 30 countries.[11] Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland GAIN has country offices in Abuja(Nigeria), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Johannesburg (South Africa), Kabul (Afghanistan), Nairobi (Kenya), New Delhi (India) and Washington, D.C.

Funding and Expenses

GAIN receives funding from a number of organizations including: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), The Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation (KBZF), the Department for International Development (DFID), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Irish Aid, the Schokland Fund, the Government of the Netherlands, Dubai Cares, the Wellcome Trust and the Goldsmith Foundation.

GAIN’s total expenditure during FY2010-2011 (prior to grant accounting adjustments) was US$41.8 million (2009-2010, US$38.6 million).

Board Members

GAIN’s Board of Directors is GAIN’s decision making body, which provides overall strategy and direction. The Chairman of the GAIN Board is Jay Naidoo. Gary Darmstadt, Director of Family Health, Global Health Program, at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, USA, is its Vice Chair. Other Board members include:


See also


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Further reading

  1. GAIN 2010-2011 Annual Report. February 2011, accessible at
  2. Brochure: Partner with GAIN to end Malnutrition. November 2011, accessible at
  3. Shaping Markets to Combat Malnutrition. September 2011, accessible at http://www.gainhealth.orgs/default/files/Shaping%20Markets%20to%20Combat%20Malnutrition.pdf http://www.gainhealth.orgs/default/files/Shaping%20Markets%20to%20Combat%20Malnutrition.pdf]

External links

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