During summer we conducted a mini-refresh of the 2017-22 Strategy with stakeholders in the 9 countries where we work, as well as global partners and GAIN staff.

We asked - is our purpose clear? What do we do well and what can we do better? and Is our current direction of travel as impactful as it could be?  

The headline result validated that our purpose - helping food systems generate positive nutrition for all people, especially the most vulnerable – is clear.

Mobilising private investment and businesses large and small continues to be a distinctive contribution of GAIN. Working with governments to enable them to shift policy in favour of nutritious diets is central.

We identified ten points to strengthen over the next two years: 

  1. Communicate our vision and offerings to wider audiences, making clearer how food affects climate, the environment, health systems and indeed every aspect of human development 
  2. Focus strongly on negotiating and, when possible, transforming the gender power imbalances we encounter in the course of our work 
  3. Balancing breadth and focus - food systems can generate hunger reduction, good nutrition, jobs, greenhouse gas mitigation and the sustainable use of natural resources and these should increasingly be viewed as indivisible. We cannot pick and choose outcomes in isolation but need to be aware of their interplay.  
  4. But be careful not to spread too thinly, use a wide-angle lens to scope opportunities to improve the consumption of safe nutritious foods while linking food systems to health systems and social protection systems, but settle on a focused activities continuing GAIN’s emphasis on concrete results, at scale, around nutrition indicators. 
  5. Scale, scale, scale: large scale fortification, where we spend a fifth, generates scale in coverage. It’s harder in other programs where we need other scaling mechanisms via policy, influencing and new partnerships e.g. repurposing government policy such as subsidies and taxes, leveraging existing finance facilities with new models, shifting consumer demand and creating supply chain efficiencies to commercialise nutrient rich foods.  
  6. Building on our roots as an alliance builder, do even more to work in alliances and structured partnerships which can turn great ideas and proven interventions into change at scale. 
  7. Continue to work harder to reach the poorest. We are a development not emergency organization but have an obligation to reach the most vulnerable. This means trying harder to develop solutions for those living on less than USD2 a day e.g. do more to affect food and cash based social protection programmes to enhance access to nutritious food.
  8. Strengthening the backbone of food systems. Our new COVID-19 response programme, Keeping Food Markets Working (KSMW), does this in the short to medium term by protecting the diets of food system workers and protecting SMEs that produce nutritious food. Longer term, can we improve core food systems - financing facilities available to SMEs in food value chains producing, strengthen urban food system planning, improving real time data collection to track the rapidly changing context and initiate preventative action (e.g. tracking prices of key foods in key markets on a weekly basis)? 
  9. Concentrate investments where possible. COVID has reminded us that food systems are only as strong as their weakest link. Where possible we should cluster our programmes in the same geographic space, and link programmes conceptually around our strategic objectives of building demand for nutritious foods, improving access to them and strengthening the enabling policy and advocacy environment for both.  
  10. More innovation in mobilising for our cause, looking for new partners from philanthropy, public and corporates to engage -  investing with GAIN and for the sector.

To find out more please consult the full GAIN Strategy Refresher November 2020

The Refresher sits in the wider GAIN's Organisational Strategy 2017-2022.