This post was originally published as a spotlight in the 2018 Global Nutrition Report. Read the full report here.
Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi, Director, Head of Investments
Tatum Summers, Analyst, Investments
The scale of global undernutrition is matched by the huge gap in financing needed to tackle it. To address this gap, The Power of Nutrition was established in 2015 by the UK Department for International Development, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the UBS Optimus Foundation, UNICEF and the World Bank. This platform mobilises funding for nutrition-specific interventions for undernutrition by leveraging financing and partnerships between the private sector, governments, donors and implementing partners to scale up sustainable national nutrition programmes. This model sees every dollar invested in The Power of Nutrition doubled by the platform, and then doubled again by the programme implementing partner, thus quadrupling the original funding. It is already making a difference in six countries across sub-Saharan Africa and aims to unlock US$1 billion of new financing for nutrition programmes by 2022.
The funding model was used to good effect in Côte d’Ivoire, where The Power of Nutrition facilitated a partnership to support the government’s Multisectoral Nutrition and Child Development Project (MNCDP). The partnership involved Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) – a private sector consortium established to improve the living conditions of children and young people through better education, including parenting and early childhood training – the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank.
As a key investor in Côte d’Ivoire, TRECC was asked if it would consider co-investing with The Power of Nutrition and the World Bank in the MNCDP. TRECC expressed an interest in investing US$5 million, providing the other partners (World Bank, the government and The Power of Nutrition platform funders) expanded the programme coverage to some cocoa-producing regions and the content to include parenting education and child stimulation. Following extensive negotiations, the partners agreed to expand the programme coverage and pilot a parenting-and-child-stimulation approach which if successful would be scaled up.
At the same time, The Power of Nutrition was in discussion with the Gates Foundation about supporting national programmes in three African countries. A request for Côte d’Ivoire to be included in the final list of countries was approved by the Gates Foundation, which enabled The Power of Nutrition to increase its overall commitment to MNCDP by another US$1 million.
The Power of Nutrition, along with its donors, invested US$10.4 million in total, which was matched by US$50 million from the International Development Association (a loan from the World Bank to the government of Côte d’Ivoire), bringing the total programme size to US$60.4 million over five years – 10 times more than the original US$6 million invested by TRECC and the Gates Foundation.
This programme brought together a group of diverse allies to collaborate and finance a single nutrition programme in Cote d’Ivoire through The Power of Nutrition platform. Furthermore, it secured funding from donors who had historically not funded nutrition. And Côte d’Ivoire now has its first national large-scale programme focused on improving nutrition and child development in the early years.
The Power of Nutrition aims to establish a portfolio of nutrition programmes cross sub-Saharan Africa and Asia that will enable an additional 17 million children and 18 million women to access nutrition services, help avoid 600,000 cases of stunting and 1.5 million cases of maternal anaemia, and prevent 60,000 deaths of children under five years of age . To date, The Power of Nutrition has raised US$58 million from the likes of TRECC, the Gates Foundation and others. This has been doubled by platform funders such as the UK Department for International Development and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, which have committed just over US$150 million to date. The leverage model has contributed to a total of US$360 million worth of programming in sub-Saharan Africa. The first two programmes are enabling over 8 million children and over 3 million women to access nutrition services to date.
The Power of Nutrition has a responsibility to ensure that its leveraged financing is as effective as possible, and conducts due diligence on all implementing partners. Results are monitored and evaluated to shape future programmes. It seeks to multiply impact on the ground to ensure that collective financial commitments are as effective as possible, by focusing on three S’s:
 According to modelling estimates of the potential impact of a US$1 billion nutrition portfolio by Mathematica Policy Research and Avenir Health.