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Published on 09/08/2018

Supporting the first steps of a social business – the example of Nutri’zaza in Madagascar

The closing workshop of the technical assistance from GRET to Nutri’zaza project, funded by the Agence française de développement (AFD), was held on 18 May. The workshop provided an opportunity to take stock, with numerous partners in attendance, and to look back at the first five years of the social business. Switching from its role as operator to that of technical assistant, GRET supported the business from its creation right up to its autonomy.

Chronic malnutrition affects 50 % of Malagasy children aged between 6 and 24 months, i.e. 900,000 children. Less visible than acute malnutrition, it generates delayed development (size, cognitive development) and undermines health. The consequences are irreversible after the age of two, and chronic malnutrition is the cause of 35 % of deaths among young children. One of the main causes is insufficient quality of food for young children. Breastfeeding and feeding practices do not meet their requirements, and manufactured  complementary foods available on the market are generally of poor quality or unaffordable, as 80 % of Malagasy families earn less than 1.90 $ a day (i.e. approximately 1.60 € a day).

Nutri’zaza is a social business that was created in 2013 to extend the results of 14 years of projects led by GRET and its partners – Institute of research for development (IRD), University of Antananarivo, TAF, and Malagasy institutional stakeholders – and make these results sustainable. The objective is to improve infant feeding in poor neighbourhoods in urban areas of Madagascar. Its action is based on marketing a complementary food that complies with international standards and is affordable for all: Koba Aina, “flour of life”. The latter is distributed in various ways: via the traditional network in more than 4,500 direct sales outlets in 2017; via the institutional network of organisations conducting nutrition projects; via its innovative network, the Hotelin-jazakely, “restaurants for babies”; and via its door-to-door service at the heart of 86 neighbourhoods in 2017.

“Nutri’zaza was created in 2013 by five partners convinced that social entrepreneurship was a solution for development: GRET, TAF, Sidi, I&P and Apem. Together, we set ourselves a challenge: to combine economic and social efficiency  over the long term” said Olivier Bruyeron, director of GRET and chairperson of the Nutri’zaza board of management.

To support the first steps taken by Nutri’zaza, with support from AFD and Find, GRET assumed the role of technical assistant. From 2013 to 2017, alongside other shareholders, it provided support to Nutri’zaza to gradually reach budgetary stability, extend its social distribution network and defend the social business as a means of sustainable action against poverty in the Malagasy institutional environment.

In 2017 the company had a turnover of almost 510,000 € and distributed 36 million meals. 8,000 children under the age of five were impacted each day by the activity of Nutri’zaza. Nutri’zaza is now recognised as a key stakeholder in the fight against malnutrition in Madagascar and, together with GRET, is currently implementing a food fortification programme for vulnerable populations (in French) funded by the European Union. As a partner and chairperson of the board of management, GRET is still strongly involved in the development of Nutri’zaza and supports its orientations.

Download the project booklet entitled L’assistance technique pour accompagner les premiers pas d’une entreprise sociale (in French)
More information on GRET’s activities in the area of health and nutrition
More information on GRET’s activities in Madagascar