On 2 November, Nutri’zaza won the Solidarity Finance Award. Nutri’zaza (“child nutrition” in Malagasy) is a social enterprise that was set up in 2013 by GRET to sustain and expand actions to fight against infant malnutrition that the NGO has been leading since 1998. Excerpt from a group interview with Olivier Bruyeron, (Managing Director of GRET), Mieja Vola Rakotonarivo (director of Nutri’zaza) and Catherine Bellin-Schulz (partnerships coordinator with Sidi).
In touch: Why choose social entrepreneurship to fight against malnutrition in Madagascar?
Olivier Bruyeron, GRET. Infant malnutrition is partly related to the quality of infant food. For the last 20 years, we have been testing different approaches in Madagascar to enable families to give their children better quality food without depending on charity aid programmes. Nutri’zaza was set up to enable them to have easy access to locally produced quality food. The system implemented must be sustainable, therefore it must not depend on external grants for too long but must cover its own costs. In addition, to impact the nutritional situation, the system must be deployed on a large scale. The social enterprise dynamic was generated by the need for sustainability and impact. This made it possible to raise capital and create the Nutri’zaza company with involvement from social investors willing to take risks and not make a profit themselves [GRET, Sidi, I&P, Taf, Apem, with support from the AFD and the Malagasy public authorities].
In Touch: What does the Solidarity Finance Award represent for Nutri’zaza?
Mieja Vola Rakotonarivo, Nutri’zaza: Receiving this Solidarity Finance Award is an opportunity for Nutri’zaza to be internationally recognised as a social enterprise. It is also a recognition of the social impact of Nutri’zaza in the fight against malnutrition in Madagascar. We have an opportunity to be more visible and we are going to take advantage of it to raise the awareness of all our public and private partners on the importance of what we are doing, on the impact we can have on children for the future of Madagascar and to gain recognition for social entrepreneurship in Madagascar. This recognition can also help to convince the public authorities and technical partners who work with us to continue contributing to the fight against malnutrition for Malagasy children.
In Touch: What role does solidarity finance play in supporting this company?
Catherine Bellin-Schulz, Sidi: Solidarity finance works via two vectors in the Nutri’zaza social enterprise. Firstly via the patient capital that Sidi provides. Patient because it enables the company to consolidate its economic model and disseminate its social fertility while waiting to generate financial gains. This capital comes from shareholders who decided to contribute to Sidi’s capital input by subscribing one or several shares. Secondly via solidarity-based savings from shared saving products. These solidarity-based savings give us the means and the time we need to participate in the governance of an institution such as Nutri’zaza. Lastly, the third point that seems important to highlight is the lobbying and advocacy role that solidarity finance can play by contributing to the demonstration of and dissemination of a successful project such as Nutri’zaza, a social enterprise in Madagascar.