How corporations can find the right partners to scale their impact initiatives: a case-study to tackle India’s malnutrition problems

Date

February 7, 2019

5 min read

Read a summary of the impact story here!

The Challenge
Nearly 70% of school-going children are undernourished and dispersed efforts are not having the needed impact.

The Solution
Build a network of partners with complementary technical and financial expertise to deliver a scalable and concerted effort in tackling morning hunger.

Identifying the problem: Dispersed efforts to address malnutrition in India are not having the needed impact

In India, 39% of children under the age of five are stunted, 15% wasted and 29% underweight. These statistics have severe implications, as they have long-lasting impact on future generations. Typically, young populations who suffer from malnourishment do not only fare well in school but also become stuck in a poverty circle.

The Breakfast Revolution has been working to tackle this problem by implementing holistic nutrition progammes in schools and pre- schools (called ‘anganwadis’). Working collaboratively with the Government and the Indian school network, The Breakfast Revolution’s programmes provide daily fortified breakfasts, regular health assessments, and hygiene education to make a significant impact on the health and well being of malnourished children. Although they have reached over 70,000 children, this remains just the tip of the iceberg; In order to scale and achieve their vision, The Breakfast Revolution was seeking strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations.

They were not the only ones. Sesame Workshop India, the Indian arm of Sesame Workshop and the non-profit behind Sesame Street, have been working to identify the most effective approach to address malnutrition in India through their children’s broadcasted content. In order for their work to have maximum impact on the lives of these children, it calls for collaboration.

Unbeknownst to Breakfast Revolution and Sesame Workshop, Kellogg was also seeking a way to broaden their efforts in providing healthy and nutritious breakfasts to solve morning hunger. Instead of recreating the wheel and duplicating efforts already being done by others, Kellogg was able to pinpoint a fundamental challenge in addressing social challenges: how could they identify an effective collaboration model in which organisations could not only complement each other with their varying expertise but also be advocates for knowledge-sharing to drive a movement?

“There is too much competition for funding between NGOs who’re working in the same space”,
says Rebecca Boustead, Head of Corporate Communications, Government Relations and Public Affairs for Kellogg. “We wish to remove such unnecessary competition, and in fact, break away from the traditional funder-fundee relationship”.

Coming together: Forging partnerships through the AVPN network

Kellogg reached out to AVPN for their support in finding the right avenues and partners to create a collaborative approach and ignite a movement to end morning hunger. AVPN helped identify a key opportunity – a workshop within AVPN’s Annual Conference during which Rebecca and her team could kick start this movement and dive deep into the large scale problem throughout Asia. Bringing together those with a vested interest in this space, the AVPN platform provided the right environment for knowledge sharing and to explore how to build on the existing work being done on the ground in India.

“The value comes from coming together and sharing ideas and work rather than just replicating the same model separately” Rebecca Boustead, Kellogg

The workshop was a meeting of minds where Breakfast Revolution and Kellogg discovered in one another a partner well aligned to their own vision and mission.

Sesame Workshop were also at the conference, represented by Sherrie Westin, President, Global Impact and Philanthropy, and Chamki, a muppet on Galli Galli Sim Sim, the Indian co-production of Sesame Street. The platform enabled Sesame Workshop to not only share its learnings in the nutritional field, but also identify the opportunities it can leverage on in the sector. They found the answer. Using their edu-tainment content, they could work with partners on the ground to address ignorance and foster long-term attitudes towards nutrition that will positively affect children’s growth.

“No organisation can tackle such big problems alone – it needs collaboration to achieve impact and amplify the skills of each partner to maximise impact” – Rubita Gidwani, Creative Director, Sesame Workshop India

Developing the solution: Maximising impact through collaboration

Excited about these conversations, Rebecca catalysed words into action. Through a Kellogg-AVPN Summit in India that brought thought leaders and practitioners in the market, Bright Start was born.

Bright Start is a network of implementation partners, funders, and content and advocacy leaders who share the goal to end morning hunger. Led by Kellogg and supported by AVPN, the collaboration brings to the table complementary expertise to support the intricate project.

Sesame Workshop will develop engaging educational content for communities that highlights the value of good nutrition. Sesame Workshop is now able to maximise the impact of their programmes by knowing that the children they work with have access to the quality food they need to be able to engage in learning.

As the ‘legs on the ground’, Breakfast Revolution will channel Kellogg’s nutritious and low-cost food products to hundreds of schools and anganwadis in its network, including hospitals, grassroot organisations, governments and more. The goal is to feed 100,000 children with 25 million meals each year. In addition to food programmes, The Breakfast Revolution will assess the nutrition status of children periodically, using the ‘Malnutrition Tracker’. This holistic program will fight morning hunger and malnutrition in some of the most vulnerable communities in India.

“Via the Bright Start platform, we want to create a massive movement of hundreds of organizations – NGOs, Foundations, and Corporates – who recognize the problem of malnutrition in our children and are motivated to take action”, Dr. Pankaj Jethwani, Co-Founder, The Breakfast Revolution

Inspired by the launch, other partners jumped at the chance to become part of this collaborative movement.

The Annapoorna Breakfast Programme is an initiative that uses local produce and guidance from nutrition experts to provide balanced nutritious breakfasts for underprivileged schoolchildren in India. Annapoorna had joined the summit hoping to engage in peer learning and be a part of a scalable coalition to tackle morning hunger in India. They found this solution in the Bright Start network.

“Gone are the days when social progress was restricted only to an act of kindness and charity. Social change and alleviation of deep-rooted social crises requires ingenuity, entrepreneurial acumen, courage and collaborative action of like-minded individuals. The focus now shifts beyond sourcing grants, to developing visionary ideas that derive the best social and economic value to improve the state of world.” Gayatri Sundar, the Annapoorna breakfast programme

Annapoorna Breakfast Programme will use their fast-growing network of schools and local authorities, partnerships with Government, local vendors, and their team of cooks and nutritionists to provide expertise at the grass root level. They also provide a well-established platform for other partners to channel their resources directly into programmes that address morning hunger. Their focus on developing a sustainable ecosystem of villages is a valuable contribution to Bright Start.

We are delighted to have brought together so many engaged and inspired individuals and catalyse a large-scale opportunity for change. The Bright Start collaboration is a shining example of how organisations can orchestrate change by looking beyond their traditional networks to leverage collaborative opportunities that can maximise impact. Join us at AVPN Conference 2019 to find partners in different sectors to scale your impact! 


About Author

The AVPN Marketing and Communications team is headed by Mercedes Martin and Amanda Kee.

Mercedes brings a wealth of marketing and content production experience to AVPN. She has led successful content marketing campaigns for global brands in Asia as well as for international NGOs and multilateral donors in Africa. Mercedes believes authentic content and good story telling are key to setting your brand apart.

Amanda works on a wide-range of content creation strategies and implementation, from social media management to writing and editorial assignments to PR campaigns.