Supporting food systems workers

To invest in the short-term and long-term nutrition security of workers which will benefit individuals, businesses and society by providing specialist support to companies for their food supply chains and promoting nutritional access for key workers in Africa and Asia.

GAIN’s footprint in this workstream

  • Emergency advisory and technical support to companies reaching their supply chain workers in Africa and Asia including rapid assessment of food needs and training on the importance of healthy diets
  • Set-up of a flexible fund for short-term emergency grants to partner companies to maintain or provide short term provision of nutritious foods to workers for the period of 2-4 months. Key messaging provided where needed around protection of workers.

Description of the workstream

One of the most practical ways to support food systems workers is to work with their employers or buyers. By working with the Workforce Nutrition Alliance of the Consumer Goods Forum, we will provide immediate specialist support to company actions for their workforces and supply chains, promoting food and nutrition access for key workers in African and Asian food systems. 
This alliance provides an existing platform to fast-track immediate assistance to employers of vulnerable workers and farmers in low-and-middle-income countries. 

Many businesses have been hard hit by the pandemic, leading to loss of employment for vulnerable workers in low paid jobs. Now with the gradual resumption of business operations; the workers will return to their workplaces with employers ensuring social distancing polices are in place. However, employers have limited technical capabilities and know-how on pandemic response for nutritional security of their workers. 

The emergence of COVID-19 sent shockwaves across consumer goods retailers and manufacturers globally, and presented unprecedented challenges to businesses, communities and individuals

Sharon Bligh, Consumer Goods Forum, Director of Collaboration for Healthier Lives Coalition of Action

By offering emergency advisory and providing technical support to companies for practical interventions, we can improve access to nourishing and protective diets for workers. We will offer rapid needs assessment, locally adapted health and safety advice, guidance on practical protective measures and equipment, and nutrition and hygiene best practice guidance for employees including breastfeeding support. 

The World Economic Forum estimates a 3% drop in global output, and a 13-32% drop on global trade. This brings a human cost: every 1% increase in unemployment brings a 2% rise in chronic illness; disrupted food systems and livelihoods could result in a quarter of a billion people suffering from acute hunger by the end of 2020

Sharon Bligh, Consumer Goods Forum, Director of Collaboration for Healthier Lives Coalition of Action

We will also establish a flexible fund for emergency grants to maintain or provide short-term provision of nutritious foods to workers. Grants will be administered in multiple rounds and will be open to all GAIN partners including those already implementing workforce programmes in India, Bangladesh and Kenya in the first round, with the latter rounds open to other established employers with large workforces. In line with this, we will target employers with at least 500 workers to make these grants benefit from economies of scale. 

Call to action

By supporting businesses to extend and sustain their worker support, and signpost them to financial aid mechanisms, we can reinforce the food and nutritional security of their workforce, and in turn provide some protection from the increased risk of poor nutrition outcomes during this pandemic.

Facts & figures 

  • We will enable an immediate and guided response by businesses and buyers to address 50,000 nutrition supply workers
  • Improved nutrition security will be provided to 30,000 vulnerable workers through emergency grants to employers


Geographic coverage