The Power of Nutrition


Lead Organization

The Power of Nutrition

London, England, United Kingdom

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Globally, 150million children still suffer from stunting, never to reach their full potential. Undernutrition impairs development and increases risk of disease. The tools exist to fix stunting. Decades of research have yielded cost-effective healthcare solutions for mothers and children. We know they work. The ultimate challenge is to fix the outdated funding and delivery mechanisms. By dismantling silos, acting collectively and upgrading services, The Power of Nutrition is restoring confidence in an underfunded system. Our match-funding and partnership model unites banks, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to turn every dollar into four. Within four years, we have transformed systems, unlocked $424million and reached 22million mothers and children in three program countries. Nutrition funding now travels four times further and every dollar is tracked and accounted for.With 100&Change co-financing, we can convert $100million into $400million and build the world’s most nutrition-efficient delivery system, leaving no mother and child behind.

Problem Statement

Undernutrition is our most urgent global equity challenge affecting over 820million people and accounting for 11% of lost GDP in high burden countries. Stunting (impaired physical and cognitive development), wasting (unhealthy severe weight loss), anemia, and low birth weight are pervasive negative outcomes of undernutrition. Undernourished women and children are at the highest risk of disease and mortality. Stunted children perform less well at school and earn less as adults. The global prevalence of under-five stunting remains stubbornly high at 22%. Anemia is 33% amongst women. In 2015, 15% of newborn babies had low birth weight. The 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals for nutrition are worryingly off-track and will not be met on the current trajectory. Africa and Asia account for 90% of all stunted children globally, with prevalence of 40% and 55% respectively. The world knows how to fix this problem. Evidence has yielded a package of well-proven interventions. However, a severe funding crisis, exacerbated by weak delivery systems makes this goal unattainable. Donors are deterred by systemic inefficiencies and governments have deprioritized nutrition. Annual global funding for nutrition is declining, including $100million reduction in bilateral contributions in 2017. Fragmentation is the biggest enemy. It weakens delivery systems, reduces accountability and compromises sustainability of interventions. Now is the time to fix the system, restore donor confidence and deliver for women and children. We know that every dollar invested in nutrition, during a mother’s pregnancy until her child turns two, has economic return of up to a staggering $35!

Solution Overview

Since 2008, the global nutrition community has backed a package of high-impact interventions that if rapidly scaled-up, will radically reduce stunting and break the cycle of undernutrition. Our challenge is inspiring an urgent increase in funding for this often-neglected sector to rapidly scale this package.The Power of Nutrition is modelling new ways to efficiently mobilize and deploy nutrition funding. We have adopted a suite of best practice principles from the business and development sectors to build a customized platform that serves as a nutrition accelerator. Through this accelerator, we are brokering partnerships between public and private donors, challenging program design, and strengthening and transforming the delivery of nutrition services. Simply by adopting zero tolerance to fragmentation and inefficiency, our catalytic investment converter is inspiring governments to invest in the power of human capital.Our Power of Four mechanism multiplies every $1 at least four times. Our portfolio of 11 countries already unlocked and blended $424million and accelerated access to nutrition services for 22million mothers and children in three countries so far. Our goal is to mobilize $1billion of new financing and achieve the 2025 SDG2 interim stunting target.Your $100million will unlock an additional $300million, enabling us to reach 215million women and children in six Asian and African countries. Our rigorous program monitoring and sophisticated business principles are the bedrock for establishing partnerships, and codifying learnings for further scale-up. This ensures that governments sustainably achieve universal coverage for nutrition services. Together, we can turbo-charge efforts to ultimately end stunting.

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Project Funders

  • The UK Department for International Development (DFID) 2018 - 2022
  • Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) 2019 - 2023
  • UBS Optimus Foundation 2018 - 2020

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