Nutrition Impact at scale (NIS)

About GAIN
The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is an alliance driven by the vision of a world
without malnutrition. Created in 2002 at a Special Session of the UN General Assembly on
Children, GAIN supports public-private partnerships to increase access to the missing nutrients in
diets necessary for people, communities, and economies to be stronger and healthier.
Introduction – why work with SMEs


Most consumers in low-income countries source their food from informal markets and those markets
are supplied by a vast network of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In a recent assessment,
GAIN found that, in sub-Saharan Africa, 60 to 90% of nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy and
animal-sourced foods are produced, distributed, or sold by SMEs. SMEs play a vital role in ensuring
safe nutritious foods are accessible and available to consumers. But lack the technical know-how, the
financial capital, and the market information that would enable them to increase the accessibility,
desirability, and quality of safe, nutritious foods more profitably to low-income consumers.


Specialized knowledge on food production, labelling, packaging, and marketing is often difficult to find
in low-income countries. Where such knowledge is available, it is often prohibitively expensive for
SMEs. In developing countries, it is common that interest rates on commercial loans range between 15
and 20%. Businesses may also be unaware that theirs is a common struggle, often shared by other,
similar businesses within their country. There are few networking opportunities or information-sharing
platforms available to SMEs involved in the production of safe, nutritious foods.


By working with other organizations that work with businesses and who are willing to invest with a focus
on nutrition, and with a focus on market systems development approach, the Impact at Scale initiative
will bring about scale in nutrition. GAIN aims to work with organisations such as accelerators,
incubators and consultants to grow its cross-cutting strategy working with stakeholders/food systems
actors such as SMEs, Consultants, equipment providers, impact investors and governments with a
focus on Nutrition.


GAIN’s work with SMEs
GAIN has over eight years’ experience supporting SMEs working in agriculture and food to improve the
accessibility of nutritious foods through improved networks, improved technical abilities, and financing
across sub–Saharan Africa. Over the years, SME focused projects have held over 100 networking and
knowledge sharing workshops which have provided learning and networking opportunities to about
5,000 entrepreneurs working production and marketing of nutritious foods. Over 100 businesses have
been supported with tailored technical assistance (business modelling and planning, product
formulation and development, market research and distribution strategy, investment memorandum and
investment readiness, etc.) 50+ businesses who produced and sold over 50 million servings of
nutritious foods have also received financial grants to invest in the scaling of their production and
operations. As such, significant experience and lessons have been drawn from the Marketplace for
Nutritious Foods and Post-Harvest Loss Alliance for Nutrition (PLAN), and Large-Scale Food
Fortification. From this work, the following SME resources and offerings have been developed:


ii.Training manuals, trainers’ guides, and training materials have been developed
iii.Alliance creation tools
iii.M&E framework and monitoring tools, monitoring database
iv.Project dashboards to track implementation, spending, etc.

  • Environmental assessment and mitigation
  • Gender and human rights assessment
    Nutrition Impact at Scale

    Nutrition Impact at scale (NIS)
    By working with other organizations that are willing and have the requisite capacity to attach a ‘nutrition
    lens’ to their work with SMEs, Nutrition Impact at Scale will enable a large-scale and accelerated
    nutrition impact for the masses. It will leverage on the work already started in four GAIN countries
    (Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Kenya, plus two new focus countries; Uganda and Benin) to
    continue to bring attention to nutrition-related issues and bring actionable knowledge and practical tools
    to sustainably help relevant stakeholders/actors to better support and/or incubate SMEs to improve
    nutrition impact. The program will leverage the extensive experience GAIN has from years of providing
    quality technical assistance, networking and knowledge sharing, and the various supply chain tools and
    resources that have been developed. The project will work with existing SME support providers with a
    wide SME reach.

  • The program will use a Market Systems Development approach to improving food systems, increase
    inclusivity and ultimately nutrition outcomes. In supporting the supply of high-quality Technical
    Assistance and Business Development Services, we believe the sustainability and scalability of our
    interventions will be increased outside of GAIN.
    The NIS initiative will achieve its objectives through:
    i.Documenting and disseminating learnings on business models that make nutritious foods
    available to low-income consumers. It will leverage on the work already started in GAIN
    countries, to continue to bring attention to nutrition related issues. The project will:
    o Develop learnings around business models that can offer profit to companies
    while improving access to nutritious foods among low-income consumers. We will
    disseminate these learnings through the platforms to which GAIN belongs, including
    SBN, Nutrition Connect, ATNI, and EBANI.
  • We will also participate and present in key relevant regional events such as
    AGRF (annual), Sankalp Africa Annual Summit, ANDE annual conference and
    regional chapter meetings.
    o Hold regular webinars for knowledge sharing and dissemination of the
    learnings to relevant actors/stakeholders
    o Create an SBN women chapter. This will enhance women’s ability to
    participate in food systems with specific initiatives directed at this specific gender’s
    challenges.
    ii.Building the capacity of other actors (accelerators and incubators) to support SMEs, by
    collating best practices on supporting SMEs to bring nutritious foods to scale and providing
    trainings and practical tools to other actors.
    GAIN will avail its suite of standard training materials and tools for other actors to use as part of its
    programs to support SMEs. This will include.
    o Suit of quality and standard training materials on business development, food
    safety and business efficiency.
    o Developing additional training guides and online (MOOC’s style) platform for
    mass learning
    o Identify companies from existing portfolios in the food and ag space who could
    make products more nutritious, available, affordable, safe, etc.
    o Tools for building alliances
    o Tools that enable other actors to surface innovations and make supply chains
    more efficient (such as the SCAN Tool)
    Accelerators and investors will be supported to:
    o Support their investees from a nutrition perspective
    o Foster innovations that will lead to food systems transformations.
    o Provide the tools required for other SME-support mechanisms to have and
    measure nutrition impact.
    o Provide metrics and indicators.
    iii.Identifying policies that constrain SMEs’ ability to positively impact nutrition and advocating to
    have these improved.