Meet Our Partners: GAIN

Global Alliance for Applied Nutrition

Our partnerships with key global organizations drastically expand the capabilities of GDD. Learn more about who our partners are, the challenges they face, and how we're working together in our quarterly Meet Our Partners spotlight. This quarter: The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

Introduce yourself and your organization

My name is Lawrence Haddad. I am an economist who works on food and nutrition issues. I am the Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). GAIN is 15 years old, having been formed at the UN with funding from a number of donors.

GAIN’s mission is to improve the consumption of nutritious foods for all, especially the most vulnerable.  We do this through 8 programmes which aim to reach over a billion people by 2022 to make food systems more nutrition sensitive.  We operate in approximately 20 countries in Africa and Asia and have 9 offices in Africa and Asia and 5 in Europe and North America. We also seek to transform food systems through our influencing work around agenda setting, advisory services and evidence generation, sharing and interpretation.

Tell us about GAIN's mission and work in general

We are where nutrition and business meet.  We make a special effort to connect governments, businesses, civil society and researchers to advance the consumption of affordable nutritious foods.  We have two broad approaches: improve the nutrient content of foods low-income people already eat (e.g. fortification, biofortification, product reformulation) and make nutritious foods more desirable and affordable via demand creation and food system interventions.

What are the biggest challenges GAIN faces in completing its objectives?

Scaling our work.  For fortification this is not an issue as we work with the big millers.  For other types of work we try to scale either by creating a viral idea, leveraging an intervention via large public programs or via markets.

How does or will GDD fit into GAIN's work and mission?

We strive to be evidence driven because we want to have the greatest impact for the resources we have, which are scarce and have alternative uses. So we want to know what people in different regions, income groups and demographics are eating. This will help us design and target our work.

What are you aiming to jointly achieve in partnership with GDD? 

We want great access to the kind of data expertise GDD has at its fingertips, especially for the 9 countries in Africa and Asia where we have country offices.  We will be able to contribute data to the GDD as we commission others to collect data for us.  We are also able to be a bridge to more operational organizations and can provide a political economy perspective in the 9 countries we operate most intensively in.

What directions or results do you hope to see in the field of global nutrition research in the future?

We need much more research on how to design programmes that are successful in changing diets.  We also need research on how to reduce the price of nutritious foods.  We need evaluations of existing efforts to change diets.  We also need to develop practical but credible indicators to measure programmatic sense in a monitoring context.

Dr. Lawrence Haddad

Many thanks to Lawrence Haddad for participating in this quarter's Meet the Partners. We invite you to visit GAIN's website and follow GAIN and Dr. Haddad on Twitter.