BCG Henderson Institute

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For a child, stunting is a cruel fate. Caused by chronic hunger, stunting leads to serious and permanent damage of a child’s brain and body and lowers resistance to disease. In the 50 countries with the highest levels of chronic hunger, more than 30% of the children are affected by stunting, creating problems not only for individual people but also for economies and societies.

But although the challenge of stunting has marshaled the resources of organizations, including government agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), individual and system complexities make it hard for countries to find solutions for chronic child hunger. To develop a new solution, and to explore how it might help nations to address other severe problems such as a lack of access to health care, BCG worked with the government of Tanzania and the World Food Programme (WFP) to implement BCG’s Smart Simplicity approach.

Rather than create new structures, processes, or systems—which often add complicatedness—we focused on the context, the ways people interact within that context, and what drives their behavior. We also used analytical tools and insights from social sciences to create strategies that promote new behaviors and ways of working. In the process, we found that Smart Simplicity can help countries make progress on complex problems—such as a lack of access to quality education and health services—even in highly challenging social and environmental contexts.

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