The Amsterdam Initiative Against Malnutrition: Combining forces across sectors
What is the Amsterdam Initiative Against Malnutrition?
According to the FAO (2015) close to 2 billion people survive on diets that lack the vital vitamins and nutrients needed to grow properly, live healthy lives, and raise a healthy family. In most cases, this is due to high prices and limited availability on the market.
In 2009 GAIN started the Amsterdam Initiative against Malnutrition (AIM). AIM brings together more than 30 partners from the North and South - representing businesses, governments, NGOs and knowledge institutes - to reduce malnutrition in Africa and Asia via nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive practices. By leveraging market based approaches developed in partnerships between business, NGOs, knowledge institutes and governmental organisations, AIM is committed to making a significant contribution to the global targets for improving maternal, infant and young child nutrition.
What is some of the exciting work that has been done in AIM?
The SPAR Rural Hubs initiative in South Africa focuses on improving rural community access to fresh produce from smallholder farmers by setting up a new distribution network.
Currently, in South Africa, produce is moved over hundreds of kilometers from rural farmers to urban-based distribution centers. Part of this produce is then moved back to an expanding network of rural retailers. Such distribution models are very difficult to enter for smallholder farmers.
SPAR South Africa’s ‘Fresh Assembly Points’ (FAPs), strategically located near farmers, rural retailers and consumers, provide logical alternatives for the produce to travel a shorter distance from farmer to FAP to retailer, thereby reducing cost and preserving freshness longer. SPAR South Africa has begun operating the first FAP in the Limpopo Province, with very positive feedback from retailers and farmers.The business will eventually be co-owned by all the farmers involved and will supply the competition.
Another project is the Vegetables for All project in Tanzania, the aim of which is to increase the consumption of fresh and dried vegetables among base-of-the-pyramid consumers in 4 different regions. The focus of the different partners in this project is to strengthen the vegetable value chain, from production by small scale farmers to consumption.
What is the AIM Learning Agenda, and how can I get involved?
The AIM Learning Agenda is the entity of AIM focused on gathering learnings both within and across AIM projects. The objective of the Learning Agenda is to ensure continuous sharing of insights, both inside and outside the coalition.
The Learning Agenda is producing a series of podcasts exploring in-depth some specific aspects of AIM work, such as:
- How to test key concepts, gain stakeholders buy-in and minimize risks before launch - Kenneth Garden, Project Manager contracted by SPAR South Africa, explains how a pre-launch workshop with key partners can be a game-changer
- How to build and activate a multi stakeholder coalition - Charlotte Pedersen, former coordinator of AIM, dives into the key elements to starting a successful partnership
- How to build baselines for multi-sector projects - M&E experts Marlene Roefs from WUR-CDI and Marijke de Graaf from ICCO Cooperation share their knowledge on developing baselines in continuously evolving projects.
The Learning Agenda has also produced a free online course on Behaviour Change for Nutrition at the Base of the Pyramid! Drawing on cases from GAIN and other nutrition initiatives, this course supports nutrition practitioners in developing a successful behaviour change campaign. You can sign up for free here.
This blog is part of the December 2016 series on Inclusive Business models delivering nutrition, in partnership with DFID and GAIN. Don’t miss the webinar series in January 2017 on Marketing nutrition to the BOP.