Nutrition in City Ecosystems (NICE)

The Nutrition in City Ecosystems (NICE) project aims to improve nutrition and health, and to reduce poverty by increasing the demand and supply of diverse, agroecologically produced foods. Implemented by a Swiss public private consortium, NICE focusses on women, youth and vulnerable populations. City governments in two secondary cities each in Bangladesh, Kenya and Rwanda will be supported, and learning between cities, incl. Swiss cities, will be facilitated to contribute to the global discourse on sustainable food systems. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Agricultural services & market
Urban development
Health education
01.06.2020 - 31.07.2025
CHF  7’580’000
Background One third of the world population suffers from malnutrition: hunger and stunting without sufficient access to safe and nutritious food on one side, overweight and obesity on the other. Current food systems contribute to climate change and suffer from its effects, rely on productivity and economic growth, colliding with concerns about climate change, natural resources and the loss of biodiversity. The global community is calling for food system transformation to make ways of producing and consuming healthy, nutritious foods more environmentally sustainable. Cities are recognised as key for implementing such territorial transformations that reconcile the various social, economic, environmental and climate-change related aspects while improving the nutrition and resilience of their populations. NICE builds on Swiss scientific expertise, and the current engagement in the transformation towards more sustainable food systems at urban (Zurich, Basel, Lausanne) and government level.
Objectives To improve nutrition and health, and to reduce poverty by increasing the demand and supply of local, diverse, agroecologically produced foods in 2 city ecosystems each in Bangladesh, Kenya and Rwanda.
Target groups

The primary project beneficiaries will be inhabitants of the city ecosystems - especially women and youth (at least 50% of activities); with a particular focus on vulnerable groups (i.e. people living in deprived slum areas in the cities, poor teenage and single mothers with children, poor producers spread in and on the outskirts of the towns, and food sellers in the informal sector) in 6 secondary cities in in Bangladesh, Kenya and Rwanda.

The project will work with city municipal governments as the key counterpart, building capacities and supporting their ability to convene and coordinate multi-sectoral committees for nutrition.

Moreover, the education and health sectors will engage as change agents /multipliers of new social norms on food consumption and nutrition.  

Medium-term outcomes

1.    Women and youth are involved in urban governance structures that incentivise food systems for improved nutrition

2.    City populations enjoy the enhanced availability and production of affordable, healthy, diverse, agroecologically produced local foods

3.    City population’s knowledge increases, and demand is created for the consumption of nutritious and agroecologically produced foods

4.    City-knowledge hubs ensure horizontal and vertical exchange, thereby shaping urban-rural food environments and  informing national and global policies


Expected results:  

-          A functional, multi-sectoral platform for nutrition in place

-          Nutrition action plans are established and resourced in each city

-          Public procurement systems promote nutritious, local, agroecological

-          Better knowledge about agroecology improving farming systems’             resilience to climate change

-          Access to output markets is increased; respective value chains promoted

-          Cities engage in consumer and producer behaviour change; diverse             nutritious, local foods are coherently promoted

-          Learnings from the cities are translated into policy, and shared across             cities within and between countries

-           The scale up strategy is implemented

Results from previous phases:   The project document was developed in a participatory process. Stakeholders (civil society (womens association and youth groups), local business and private sector, farmers and small holders, media and health and education networks)) were consulted by the leaders of the 6 cities on the main food system bottlenecks and drivers. An indepth situation analysis was conducted on nutrition indicators, nutrition relevant policies, a review of key gender differentials, the status of devolution of power to city level, and the impact of COVID-19. The cooperation with different partners at consortium, country and city level was agreed. The logframe and baselines were defined. 

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
Swiss Academic and Research Institution
  • Swiss Private Sector
  • Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

Coordination with other projects and actors

-        GPFS projects: RUNRES, Sustainable nutrition for all, and the SUN Network

-        GPH Program RECAP (Bangladesh, Kenya)

-        GPH& GPFS support to GAIN ‘Making Market work for Nutrition (MMW)’, GPH project ‘Urban Governance for Health and Wellbeing’; SDC Local Governance, Market Systems for Chars, and the Horizontal Learning Projects in Bangladesh;

-        GPH/ GPFS MMW; SDC’s Horn of Africa Strategy, and the SDC promoted Blue Schools, the Digital Farmers’ Hubs through the Farm to Market Alliance in Kenya;

-        SDC Great Lakes Nutrition Programme, LoT Food System Kigali; and the ‘Cross Border Trade for Peace’ by the Int. Alert in Rwanda.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    7’580’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’180’200