Expansion of local Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) Manufacturing and Research Innovation Centre.

Maximising shared value through local research, development and manufacture of "new generation" RUTFs within the countries they are needed.

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

VALID Nutrition Limited

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $1mil - $5mil

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • More than 100,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Malawi

Headquarters location: City

Lilongwe, Malawi.

Location(s) of impact

VALID is the leading supplier of RUTF to local government and UNICEF (main RUTF purchaser) in Malawi for distribution throughout the country.


www.validnutrition.org and www.validnutrition.mw

Facebook URL


Twitter URL


Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Acute & chronic malnutrition. Today, 2 billion people globally suffer from various forms of malnutrition. It is an underlying cause of death for 2.6 million children each year-a third of child deaths globally. Statistically, under-nutrition accounts for 11% of the global burden of disease & is the no.1 risk to health worldwide. In 2015, 50 million children under 5 suffered from acute malnutrition & 156 million (1 in 4) were chronically malnourished. This in turn leads to huge economic losses for the countries involved.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Add longer-term value at source: Our local RUTF recipe development and manufacturing model is based on 2 fundamental principles: adding value to the local economy, and bringing a sustainable “farm-to-mouth” approach to tackling malnutrition at source. For example, in simple economic terms, a much higher proportion of the (donor funded) price paid for ready-to-use foods stays in the developing world if the product is produced in country. Local manufacturers source raw materials and services locally, and in so doing, directly support employment and agriculture by creating demand for local produce and crop diversity, as well as, developing food production expertise & infrastructure. Our philosophy is not to import solutions into the developing world, but to add longer term value to society & industry at local level. This involves a holistic approach including the sustainable use of biodiversity & genetic resource. It also reduces the carbon footprint associated with supply from offshore.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

VALID manufactures locally to foster autonomy and empowerment through local economic development as well as reducing the carbon footprint associated with offshore supply. To date, VALID has produced enough product to treat over 500,000 cases of severe acute malnutrition at our UNICEF accredited factory in Lilongwe. The factory is meeting the highest standards of quality and hygiene, and we are proud that, in recent years, we have been meeting UNICEF’s entire demand for RUTF product in Malawi - thus preventing the requirement to import any RUTF from offshore. Additionally, VALID's local research activities have recently achieved an inspiring breakthrough with a lower cost ready-to-use therapeutic food recipe made exclusively from local ingredients - meaning that a further 15% to 25% of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition can be treated within existing donor budget restraints.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Whilst currently working from a converted warehouse facility, the factory is financially self-sustaining through earned income (100%). However, VALID's planned move to a purpose built facility will increase the income earned from sale of product thus (a) reducing the cost of product sold, and (b) financing the re-investment of profit directly back into the charitable aims of VALID, which includes the development of efficacious and affordable food products to tackle chronic malnutrition.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Addressing malnutrition by innovating, strengthening the local food value chain & enhancing biodiversity: Through innovative research of alternative recipes suited to local manufacturing, VALID is directly adding sustainable, longer term value -both socially & economically- to vulnerable lives & communities. The new facility will expand output capacity & facilitate the export of product to neighbouring countries where levels of malnutrition are high but local production is currently unavailable.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

VALID Nutrition, through the research efforts of our Founder Dr. Steve Collins, is internationally renowned for revolutionizing the way severe acute malnutrition is addressed globally. Steve pioneered a new distribution model - Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) - which was endorsed by the UN/WHO/WFP in 2007, and is now in use in over 65 countries worldwide, saving hundreds of thousands of lives annually. By moving the delivery of “treatment” away from hospitals and placing it back in the arms of mothers at community level, Steve had inadvertently unlocked a new market for ready-to-use foods by creating a demand led dynamic for the very first time. To add longer term value to vulnerable lives and communities, he established the VALID Nutrition factory in Malawi, which was the first of its kind in Africa, and now advocates for local production only.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Ashoka page or contact


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