Affordable Nutritious Foods for Women (ANF4W)

Project description

Title: Affordable Nutritious Foods for Women (ANF4W) 
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of the programme 
Co-funded: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Countries: Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania 
Private Sector Partners: Aglukon, Ajinomoto, BASF, Bayer CropScience, DSM Sight & Life (S&L), Stern Wywiol Group (Stern) / Mühlenchemie 
Public Sector Partners: Ghana National Development Planning Commission (NDPC); Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office; Kenya Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Dietetics Unit (MoH, NDU); Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) 
Overall term: 2013 to 2017

ANF4W. A healthy diet safeguards the future – a family preparing food Photo: Köhn  © GIZ


Around two billion people – almost one third of the global population – suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, or ‘hidden hunger’. Women of reproductive age (15-49 years) and children below the age of two are more severely affected than other age groups. Worldwide, they suffer disproportionately from iron, folic acid, vitamin A and zinc deficiencies. This has serious consequences, since it weakens the immune system and makes affected persons more vulnerable to infectious diseases. If they go untreated, micronutrient deficiencies cause irreversible disease states and even death. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies thus increase maternal, infant and child mortality rates. An adequate supply of micronutrients is critical to a child’s development, especially during the first 1,000 days of life, from the start of pregnancy to the age of two. Focusing on supporting women of reproductive age in order to prevent micronutrient deficiencies in children during the first 1,000 days of their lives is the defining aspect of this project.


The number of women of reproductive age with an improved intake of micronutrients (iron, zinc, iodine, vitamin A and folic acid) in selected countries has increased.

Affordable Nutritious Foods for Women (ANF4W) © GIZ


To achieve its objective to improve the nutrition of women of reproductive age, ANF4W uses a combination of activities to communicate nutrition behaviour change. It also adopts market-based approaches to create and promote a sustainable supply of and demand for affordable micronutrient-rich foods. These approaches include supplementary food fortification, agronomic bio-fortification and the fortification of staple foods. Both smallholder farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food processing industries are involved in the project. This ensures the creation of linkages along the entire agricultural value chain which, in turn, establishes an important relationship between agricultural interventions and the nutritional situation.

ANF4W is financed jointly by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It cooperates with partners from the food and agricultural industries, international and national non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and academic and research institutions.

ANF4W in Ghana is developing supplementary fortified food products especially for women of reproductive age. SMEs in the local processing industry produce these foods using local crops, enriching them with micronutrients, the presence of which cannot be guaranteed in the typical local diet. Independent of specific brands, a social marketing campaign offers women information on healthy nutrition. DSM Sight & Life and the Japanese food corporation Ajinomoto are the project’s international partners.

ANF4W in Bangladesh is training smallholder farming families in ways of increasing the nutrient content of crops at various stages of crop production. The agricultural techniques include new methods of handling agricultural inputs, such as micronutrient fertilisers for agronomic bio-fortification. In homestead gardens, the cultivation of vegetables is being diversified, with a focus on locally available vegetables that are rich in nutrients and easily cultivated. To complement the nutrition-sensitive agricultural approach, the project is running a communication campaign aimed at changing dietary behaviour. In Bangladesh, Helen Keller International, a USA-based NGO specialising in human nutrition, is involved in the project, alongside the local NGO DCPUK. The leading private sector partners are Bayer CropScience and Aglukon

ANF4W in Kenya and Tanzania builds on the Strategic Alliance for the Fortification of Oil and Other Staple Foods (SAFO), which GIZ and BASF carried out between 2008 and 2012 on behalf of BMZ, as part of the programme. The SAFO project focused on increasing the market coverage of fortified staple foods. The current ANF4W project in Kenya and Tanzania involves scaling up the positive impacts of staple food fortification and reaching vulnerable population groups, including women of reproductive age. This should increase market coverage of nutritious staple foods, including fortified edible oils, fortified wheat flour and fortified maize flour. 

ANF4W. At the market in Ghana – nutrition is a key factor for development Photo: Kayser  © GIZ

The capacity of local governments to regulate and monitor fortified foods is being strengthened through the provision of technical training. As well as distributing information on dietary supplements and the health benefits of a balanced, varied diet in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the project is running an innovative social marketing campaign to raise awareness about fortified foods as an important source of micronutrients. The private sector partners are BASF and Mühlenchemie, a member of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe.

Additional information