Nutrition for Women and Children

The 1,000 days from the start of a woman’s pregnancy until her child’s second birthday offers a unique opportunity to shape a child’s future. The right nutrition during this crucial time period can have an enormous impact on a child’s ability to grow and learn. We focus on improving maternal and child nutrition to break intergenerational cycles of malnutrition and stunting, particularly in the first 1,000 days from conception through to 24 months of age.

We know that what children eat depends on the foods that are available locally and the culture they are born into. So our work with partners – including local food manufacturers, governments and civil society organizations – combines improving the nutritional quality of food and providing complementary foods to increase nutrients in the diet. This sits alongside our efforts to change people’s behaviour, especially around breastfeeding, what mothers eat, and their understanding of what constitutes a healthy diet for themselves and their family.

GAIN’s policies and programs are consistent with WHO’s Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF). GAIN supports early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding through age 6 months and continued breastfeeding through age 24 months with the introduction of appropriate, adequately nutritious complementary foods from 6 months of age. GAIN also supports the Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and the importance of its articulation in national legislation to promote and protect optimal infant and young child nutrition. Read the full position paper here.


We want every child worldwide to have access to nutritious food.

Over the next two years, to 2017, we’ve set a number of targets to improve, enhance and support the diets of the poorest and most vulnerable people in countries where there is a high burden of malnutrition including the urban malnourished and excluded populations.

Our aims

  • 3 billion – number of people we aim to help increase their micronutrient intake by 2017, including 400 million women and adolescent girls, and 200 million children under five
  • 50 million – number of children under five we hope to reach with improved access to affordable, high-quality complementary and supplementary foods by 2017
  • 5 million – number of pregnant and lactating women we hope to reach through integrated approaches, including targeted supplementary and complementary feeding interventions, in order to reduce stunting by 3 percent per year in the target population.
  • 70 million – number of women, adolescent girls and children we aim to reach with behaviour change messages and interventions related to feeding, nutrition and care practices

As well as improve the nutritional quality of food, GAIN educates and promotes behaviour change in women so they can make informed nutrition decisions and request better nutrition services.

Also, where appropriate, we combine our work on nutrition with better hygiene and health services, and access to safe water.

Working with our partners, we raise awareness, political will and resources; improve policies; and encourage the public and private sectors to expand access to innovative, cost-effective solutions that can improve nutrition at scale.





In 2014, GAIN’s programs reached an estimated 892 million people with more nutritious foods, including 350 million women and children.

Here are some of our achievements:

  • GAIN’s learning and development toolkit: first 1,000 days releases key findings with industry insight 
  • Helped more than 6.75 million people gain access to high-quality fortified supplementary foods in Andhra Pradesh, India
  • Introduced an integrated GAIN program in Rajasthan, India to mobilize self-help groups around nutrition
  • Reached nearly 120,000 children with fortified complementary foods in Cote d’Ivoire.
  • Involved in the scaling up of home fortification in Kenya, supporting children’s nutrition through supplementary feeding, such as micronutrient powders
  • Collaborated with UNICEF to build a sustainable business model for community production of complementary food in Ethiopia.
  • Launched a new micronutrient powder program in Bangladesh, in collaboration with BRAC
  • Supported the launch of a Home Fortification Program to improve the nutritional status and micronutrient deficiencies of children in Nigeria
  • Reached more than seven million caregivers with GAIN’s infant and child nutrition campaign, Feeding Smart from the Start, in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • Launched Project BADUTA in Indonesia to improve maternal, infant feeding and care practices at the community level
  • Hosted the Designing the Future of Nutrition Social and Behavior Change Communication conference in 2014
  • Developed MNP product in Vietnam with the National Institute of Nutrition which is successfully marketed and sold through the health system




Resources /

Working papers and reports published by GAIN.

The papers  below were launched at the #Nutrition Now: 1,000 Days Symposium in London in February 2015.

Supplements sponsored by GAIN in the Maternal and Child Nutrition journal


Case studies


  • GSMA mNutrition Initiative: Developing and scaling-up the delivery of nutrition messages through Cell Phones
  • Home Fortification with Multinutrient Powders, Afghanistan
  • Home Fortification, Bangladesh
  • Complementary Foods, Cote d’Ivoire
  • Innovative Finance for lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS), Ecuador
  • Home Fortification with Multinutrient Supplements, Ethiopia
  • Complementary Foods, Ghana
  • Innovative Finance for LNS, Haiti
  • Home Fortifiation Technical Advisory Group (HF-TAG)
  • Complementary Foods, India
  • Fortified Blended Foods by Women’s Groups, India
  • Decentralized Production of Supplementary Foods, India
  • Baduta Project, Indonesia
  • Scaling Up Home Fortification, Kenya
  • Home Fortification with Multinutrient Supplements, Nigeria
  • Home Fortification of Complementary Foods using Multinutrient Supplements, Vietnam
  • Addressing malnutrition in the first 1,000 days, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia