By Sanku, February 2019.

Sanku is working to end micronutrient malnutrition by partnering with small-scale millers to ensure that fortified maize flour is accessible to all, regardless of location or economic status. Because up to 95% of the Tanzanian population consumes maize flour from small mills, and our goal is to reach 100 million people across East Africa, our intervention had to be designed from the beginning to achieve scale. Our approach is scalable because our product (1) is not discernibly different from maize flour available on the market and (2) uses a technology that requires no behavior change and very little training to use. Our business model neutralizes the cost of fortification for our partners and consumers, while bringing in revenue to ensure Sanku’s sustainability. Our “dosifier” was designed to work with any mill and is equipped with technology that allows us to streamline and grow our operations.

As of February 2020, Sanku has scaled to 25 out of 26 regions and 75 out of 169 districts in Tanzania. Part of our scaling strategy is to introduce footholds in regions with willing partner millers, who influence other mills to join on with Sanku, allowing us to saturate a given area. As we now have a presence in a majority of regions, we are in a great position to dramatically increase our reach, which is currently approximately 2 million people per day.

Several scaling lessons we have learned so far include:

  1. having a high quality product that partners and customers value and trust is critical to our expansion;
  2. automating our systems is essential to preserving quality while scaling;
  3. remote monitoring technology allows us to boost our efficiency and ensure compliance while keeping costs low;
  4. every new program design element we introduce has to pass the test “will this work at scale” regardless of how small it starts.

A continuing challenge for us has been staffing for scale. We struggle to find staff with the right mix of values and skills rapidly enough to meet our expansion goals. Our staff are crucial to our internal growth and our expansion, so we are working on finding a solution to this need.

Contact: Anne Wanlund


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