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 not only a child’s future, but the future of a society. The right nutrition during this crucial period can have an enormous impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and develop to his or her full potential. In order to break intergenerational cycles of malnutrition, there is a need to broaden the focus on improving the nutrition of adolescent girls and women (pre-pregnancy as well as during pregnancy).

Despite the considerable progress made over the past decades, millions of children are still affected by acute and chronic malnutrition and many more are suffering from some degree of sub-optimal health and/or development due to micronutrient deficiencies. Poor complementary feeding is a significant driver of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency which leads to stunting.  Globally 159 million children are stunted and more than 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies.

GAIN’s MIYCN program aims to protect and promote optimal breastfeeding and dietary diversity in close collaboration with governments, food producers and NGO’s in order to address stunting and micronutrient deficiency amongst mothers and children and adolescents. We work to improve access to and utilization of high-quality, affordable nutritious foods and food supplements for women and children, strengthening delivery channels which are both sustainable and scalable.

Recognizing the complexity of malnutrition, GAIN seeks opportunities to integrate the focus on complementary feeding with critical interventions such as water, sanitation and hygiene interventions (WASH) and approaches to support women’s social and economic empowerment.


Building on 9 years of experience, GAIN has learned valuable lessons on how to strengthen supply of and create demand for nutritious foods and supplements for mothers and young children, within a public health context. We having worked on effective delivery of MNP’s in nine countries, and we have worked with over ten profit and non-for-profit organisations on production and distribution of fortified complementary foods. We are developing approaches to create nutrition-friendly workplaces for women and are investing to fill the knowledge gap and improve understanding on how to improve nutritional status of adolescent girls. Aiming for impact, scale and sustainability, GAIN co-designs and co-creates projects in partnership with other actors, based on a robust learning agenda, which allows close monitoring of progress and timely course correcting, where and when needed.

Our interventions focus on:

  • Systems and consumer-centric approaches to shaping the market and the regulatory environment for fortified nutritious foods and supplements
  • Effective delivery models driving compliant utilization of multi-nutrient powders
  • Multi-channel social and behaviour change interventions with a touch of commercial marketing approaches, through mass-media, social media, mobile phone technology, community activation and interpersonal counselling.
  • Integrating nutrition interventions with social and economic empowerment of women, for example the production of complementary foods by women groups, improving nutrition of female workers in industry.



Over the past 9 years, GAIN’s MIYCN programs have reached a cumulative 20 million children and pregnant women with more nutritious foods, with ongoing projects reaching 584,000 in 2015.

Key achievements include:

  1. Innovative business models
  2. Demand creation and behaviour change
  3. Creating an enabling environment

Co-organising the Designing the Future of Nutrition Social Behaviour Change Conference with USAID / SPRING and the development of a strategic agenda.




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