© Helvetas/GMB Akash
Tanzania, Bangladesh

Strengthening food and nutrition security in secondary cities

© Helvetas/GMB Akash
  • Project Name
    Inclusive cities for nutrition (IC4N)
  • Project Phase
    2022 to 2025
  • Thematic focus
    Food & Nutrition

Malnutrition is a key challenge in urban areas in developing countries resulting e.g. in reduced education outcomes, lower productive capacities, increased likelihood of lifelong health problems and high public health costs. Secondary cities are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition due to the multiple challenges they face like infrastructure needs, weak governance and constrained capacities and financial means.  

In order to address this challenge and to find innovative solutions Helvetas is currently preparing and designing the project IC4N. It aims to strengthen the urban food systems of the secondary cities of Mbeya (Tanzania) and Cox Bazar (Bangladesh)  with a special emphasis on inclusive nutrition governance and food environments. Both cities have high malnutrition rates, play an important role in their economy and overall have a conducive environment for change and project implementation. Gender equality, urban-rural linkages, digitalization and adaptation to climate change as transversal topics will be crucial in order to further strengthen project outcomes. The project will contribute to a healthy and innovative population and promotes a resilient and inclusive city. 

Helvetas aims for a multipartner approach in order to implement a multi-sectorial approach for nutrition. The project will bring together partners from the global, national and local level and therefore combine local strategies and initiatives with international innovative approaches. 


Helvetas has developed a specific approach to address the above-mentioned challenges:  

  • Applying Nutrition-sensitive programming in all our food system-related interventions, including but not limited to strengthening sustainable value chains, enhancing access to safe Water, promoting sustainable consumption and facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogue spaces; 

  • Promoting ecological, sustainable agriculture across the rural-urban continuum based on local resource cycles and being adapted to climate change;  

  • Applying an inclusive food systems approach, e.g. the City Region Food System approach or Linking Agriculture and Natural Resource Management towards Nutrition Security (LANN+); 

  • Recognizing women as key stakeholders for all interventions addressing food and nutrition security and integrating and mainstreaming gender and social equity in all our work; 

  • Engaging in advocacy and policy dialogues towards integrated nutrition actions with governments at local, national and international levels. 


The project partner is the City of Zurich. IC4N is innovative as it contributes to the new city-to-city cooperation approach by the the City to Zurich. It informs and is informed by a political dialogue between the different municipalities. It is clear goal that at various points during the project implementation both the project and the political dialogue will come together. 

The City of Zurich has expressed their commitment to the topic of urban food and nutrition security. The city will contribute with: 

  • Technical expertise in Food Sensitive Urban Planning, institutional anchoring of the multi-sectoral approach in an administration and Food Sensitive Monitoring 

  • A holistic strategy in Food Sensitive Urban Planning 

  • Knowledge sharing and joint learning through its membership in various international city networks such as the Milano Urban Food Policy Pact 

  • Funding

Food & Nutrition

Helvetas works to combat the world’s hunger problem by connecting disadvantaged women and men to stable supplies of affordable, nutritious and healthy food.

How Helvetas Supports People in Tanzania

Increasing income opportunities for farmers and improving primary education are some of our priorities in Tanzania.

How Helvetas Supports People in Bangladesh

Helvetas helps farmers in Bangladesh prepare for climate change and promotes political participation, especially among women.