Amway's Partnership to Support Child Nutrition in Rural China

January 1, 2013

At Amway, nutrition is a core business line. The company’s Nutrilite product is a global leader in nutritional supplements, with more Nutrilite supplements distributed globally than any other brand. Nutrilite products include plants grown, harvested, and processed on the company’s own 8,500 acres of certified organic farms, making Amway the largest organic farmer in the world! The nutrition line of business includes a supplemental education focus to train people about healthy foods and lifestyles.

  • 8 million newborn babies every year
  • 110 million children under age 14
  • 239,000 Grade 1-9 schools
  • 71 million students between Grades 1-9
  • 4,000 special schools for children of migrant workers who have come to cities

In 1992, the company expanded operations to China. Amway China has been active in identifying social issues that require attention. For example, they recently learned that an overwhelming majority of the country’s 71 million rural, grade school-aged children are undernourished, living in near poverty conditions, and not receiving a proper education. Amway’s nutrition expertise and commitment to helping people live better lives led them to create Migrant Children’s Food Kitchens in rural schools across the country where children could be fed nutritious meals.

In 2010, Amway took their commitment to nutrition for China’s migrant children to the next level by founding the Amway Charity Foundation (ACF). ACF completed its inaugural year in 2011 at the center stage of Chinese philanthropy, setting a new standard in charitable community service in China. ACF pioneers a unique approach—a new kind of public/private cooperation on a national scale, which has become a catalyst for partnerships, financial support, and volunteerism.

Amway Charity Foundation is the first and still the only foundation initiated and funded by a foreign multinational at its inception. ACF operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA), the highest authority for social welfare in China, and plans to help 1.5 million children have warm nutritious meals through its kitchen project alone.

However, that’s still only 2.1% of the children who need assistance. Only with the participation of more individuals and organizations can we service the needs of the ever-increasing population of vulnerable children in China who deserve a better life.

The Approach:Supporting the country’s most vulnerable children

  • 300 kitchens were completed in 2011, covering 18 counties in six provinces
  • More than 700 additional kitchens will be in operation by the end of 2012
  • 400 kitchen supervisors trained, 600 volunteers monitor for quality assurance
  • 150,000 children now enjoy nutritious meals
  • Named by Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs “Most Influential Charity Project in China” in 2011

ACF pursues a range of proactive actions along the three main themes of children’s nutrition, education, and volunteerism. The open platform of partners working in conjunction with one another includes government agencies, think tanks, non-government organizations, media, donors, and volunteers. The range of actions includes programs and projects, pilots and models, research, symposiums, and advocacy.

The most successful venture thus far is the effort to support children’s nutrition by creating “Spring Sprout” kitchens in rural schools.Working together with the China National Committee for the Care of Children and many local government authorities, ACF helps build kitchens in village boarding schools so that the children can have warm nutritious meals.


[Editor's note: This article is part of The Role of Business in Emerging Markets.]