Sanku: Project Healthy Children


Project Healthy Children

Project Healthy Children works with rural millers in low-income countries to fortify staple foods with vitamins and minerals to end malnutrition in Africa.

What problem is Project Healthy Children working on?

According to Project Healthy Children, over 2 billion people lack access to essential nutrients, and about 8,000 children die each day from preventable illnesses resulting from micronutrient deficiencies. Micronutrient deficiencies can lead to various health problems, like blindness, birth defects, and serious cognitive impairment.

Food fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals (e.g. iron, folic acid, iodine, vitamin A, and zinc) to staple foods to improve their nutritional content and address a nutritional gap in a population. In the developing world, commonly fortified foods include staple products such as salt, maize flour, wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oil, and rice.

What does Project Healthy Children do?

Project Healthy Children (PHC) is working to end malnutrition in Africa. To achieve this, PHC:

  • Works with small African flour mills to fortify staple foods with vital nutrients.
  • Helps millers offset the costs of the nutrients by helping them save money on flour bags for packing their flour.
  • Monitors the fortifying process remotely and visits the mills when needed.

PHC has already reached 2 million people with fortified flour, and it projects that it will reach 25 million people by 2025.

The cost of food fortification is as low as 26 cents per person per year, depending on the food and specific vitamins added.

To learn more about PHC, we recommend reading GiveWell's detailed 2015 review and its 2020 followup conversation.

What information does Giving What We Can have about the cost-effectiveness of Project Healthy Children?

We don't currently have further information about the cost-effectiveness of PHC beyond it doing work in a high-impact cause area and taking a reasonably promising approach.

Please note that GWWC does not evaluate individual charities.

Our recommendations are based on the research of third-party, impact-focused charity evaluators our research team has found to be particularly well-suited to help donors do the most good per dollar, according to their recent evaluator investigations. Our other supported programs are those that align with our charitable purpose — they are working on a high-impact problem and take a reasonably promising approach (based on publicly-available information).

At Giving What We Can, we focus on the effectiveness of an organisation's work -- what the organisation is actually doing and whether their programs are making a big difference. Some others in the charity recommendation space focus instead on the ratio of admin costs to program spending, part of what we’ve termed the “overhead myth.” See why overhead isn’t the full story and learn more about our approach to charity evaluation.