From the Nutrimad project to the Nutri’zaza social business: over 20 years fighting against malnutrition in Madagascar

Madagascar is one of the first countries where Nutridev started working. The programme has greatly changed over 23 years, from testing the bases of the Nutridev method in the 1990s to the innovations of the 2000s, such as the creation of a network of restaurants for babies (Hotelyn-Jazakely) in the capital and the first social business fighting against malnutrition (Nutri’zaza).

The context: huge regional disparities

On the large island of Madagascar, there are huge regional disparities.

“The Androy region in the South of the island is badly affected by drought and food and nutritional insecurity. In the capital, Antananarivo, 47% of children under the age of 5 suffer from stunting, compared to 40% of children on average in urban zones in Madagascar.” explains Christiane Rakotomalala, nutrition programme manager with GRET in Madagascar. This is why we work both in urban and rural areas in 7 of Madagascar’s 22 regions, with intervention strategies that are appropriate to the various local contexts.”

Nutridev’s actions since 1994

In urban areas, Koba Aina is distributed via an original network: Hotelin-jazakely (restaurants for babies). Parents can come to buy the porridge already prepared or can let their children eat it in the restaurant: an opportunity to monitor the baby’s growth and advise mothers. The restaurant staff also tour the surrounding neighbourhoods to sell the porridge door-to-door. In 2013, Malagasy social business Nutri’zaza was created to make the activities sustainable, extend the Hotelin-jazakely network and distribution of the product to the traditional network (retailers). In 2017, over 150,000 children aged between 6 and 24 months are concerned by Nutri’zaza’s actions and 28 million meals were sold between 2013 and 2016.

In rural areas, GRET implements the activities of the National community-based nutrition programme defined by the Malagasy government. Liaison officers elected by the community spread nutritional messages and monitor the growth of children. 401 nutrition centres were built in 5 regions. The awareness of mothers and future mothers is raised on best feeding, hygiene and childcare practices during home visits or visits in healthcare centres. GRET also develops a multi-sectoral approach in rural areas facilitating links between agriculture, health and nutrition and the implementation of nutritional safety nets in response to recurrent crises in the Southern region of Madagascar.

The specificities of Nutridev’s actions in Madagascar

  • Strong involvement in public policies: GRET supported the government to draw up the 3rd section of the 2017-2021 National Nutrition Action Plan. It is also supporting the government to create a framework for multi-stakeholders consultation on nutrition issues and a national legal framework to facilitate nutritional fortification via the consumption of complementary foods.
  • Koba Aina: GRET, IRD and the University of Antananarivo, together with Malagasy company Taf, defined a food fortified with 25 minerals and vitamins based on good quality local products: Koba Aina (“flour of life” in Malagasy). This food for children aged between 6 and 24 months must be cooked as porridge to facilitate its consumption in optimum sanitary conditions. 120 tons of the product are manufactured by the Taf plants every year and are marketed at affordable prices by the Nutri’zaza social business. Koba Aina is not the only complementary food developed by Nutridev in Madagascar. Other products have also been developed for primary school-age children for example, as well as a product to deal with moderate acute malnutrition. More information on complementary foods in Madagascar

Contact people in the country: Christiane Rakotomalala (GRET) rakotomalala[at] and Mieja Rakotonarivo (Nutri’zaza) directiongenerale.nutrizaza[at]

In Madagascar, GRET conducted the Nutridev programme activities in 2016 with the following partners:

  • Financial partners: ACF, Agence française de développement, European Union, Government of the Principality of Monaco, IPM-MAE, Handicap International, MdM, Malagasy ministry of Health, MFPF, Nutri’zaza, WFP, Santé Sud.
  • Technical partners: ACF, Malagasy ministry of Health, Malagasy ministry of Trade, Nutri’zaza, National Nutrition Office, Taf, University of Antananarivo (Labasan)