The Right Start Initiative: Accelerating Women and Girls’ Nutrition

The “Right Start Initiative” is a multi-faceted initiative to reach over 100 million women and girls with improved nutrition.

One billion women are malnourished – and the cost of that lost potential is a tax that is undermining global progress.

In the family, in the community, in the fields, in the workforce, and in multiple areas of human endeavour, women are the engines of development. Malnutrition is a brake that is holding them back. Through focused effort and a united call to action, we can begin to remove that brake.

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Five strategic pillars

The Right Start Initiative (RSI) will accelerate progress on women and adolescent girls’ nutrition through its five strategic pillars:

1. High-impact programs. With $75 million (CAD) in anchor funding from the Canadian government, Nutrition International is launching programs in nine countries across Africa and Asia that aim to reach 50 million women and adolescent girls by 2020.

2. Resource Mobilization. Building on Canada’s anchor funding, Nutrition International is reaching out to global nutrition donors, foundations, and the private sector to leverage this investment with the objective of at least doubling our reach to 100 million women and girls.

3.  New strategic partnerships. Securing progress for one billion malnourished women and girls will require a new approach to strategic partnership that engages and supports countries in developing sustainable, long term solutions and financing priorities to address the need. It will also require working smarter to ensure nutrition is integrated into existing or emerging platforms where it might otherwise be missed.

4. Technical leadership, evidence and action. Nutrition International is committing resources and capacity to bridge the divide between evidence and action by generating evidence of what works – particularly around how to scale up nutrition services – and providing technical assistance in order to support greater impact.

5. Advocacy. Nutrition International will work to generate political will to raise the profile of nutrition for women and girls. Nutrition International will work with partners to ensure better nutrition for women and girls is prioritized at the national and international level by governments, donors, the private sector, and agencies.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about the Right Start Initiative, contact partnerships@nutritionintl.org.


The Right Start Initiative will address deep and chronic need.

Malnutrition remains one of the most persistent barriers to improved prosperity, growth and human development, limiting the capacity of generation after generation to grow, learn, and earn to their full potential.

Anaemia affects half a billion women of reproductive age and 38 percent of pregnant women worldwide. Adolescent girls are particularly affected. At a point in the life cycle when they are growing faster than at any time since their first years of life, their lack of access to good nutrition is compounded by gender discrimination.

Poor nutrition and gender inequities too often relegate girls to the bottom rungs of the economic and social ladder, where poverty, ill-health and malnutrition combine in a vicious cycle.

Improving the nutrition of adolescent girls and women of reproductive age is also critical to breaking the inter-generational impact of malnutrition.

It is estimated that 20 million babies a year, or 15% to 20% of all babies born worldwide, are delivered having low birth weight. Low birth weight is a major predictor of poor child health and disability and increases the risk of non-communicable diseases later in life.

When women are healthier, their babies and children are healthier.

Additional Information