LONDON, June 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vodafone today announced it is working with Sanku (Project Healthy Children) to equip small flour mills across Africa with Internet of Things (IoT) services to provide nutritious fortified flour to millions of people.

Two billion people around the world suffer from micronutrient malnutrition. Fortified flour battles against hidden hunger in developing countries, which includes pervasive issues of micronutrient deficiencies such as birth defects, child development issues, and blindness.

Sanku is bringing real-time, data-driven insights to 3,000 small scale flour mills over the next four years, with Vodafone’s global IoT SIM and USB Connect technology helping to significantly scale the programme and improve its efficiency. Sanku has created a first-of-its-kind technology - the ‘dosifier’ - which enables small African flour mills in rural areas to fortify flour with key nutrients during the milling process, in a way that is sustainable and cost-effective.

In the past, one Sanku worker could only monitor 25 mills, which would fortify flour to feed 125,000 people. Vodafone’s IoT SIM now connects the same worker to 100 mills, which will fortify flour for 500,000 people. The Sanku worker receives alerts remotely and in real-time when the mills run out of fortified flour or require maintenance.

“Our dosifier has been incredibly successful to date, bringing fortified flour to communities in need across the developing world,” said Sanku Co-founder and CEO Felix Brooks-church. “Vodafone’s IoT technology gives us the ability to significantly optimise and scale operations. Sanku currently helps provide fortified flour to around one million people and, with this new IoT connection, we are on a path to reach 100 million people by 2025.”

As a result of the partnership with Vodafone:

-- Sanku dosifiers now have reliable, secure connectivity with Vodafone’s IoT SIM. Vodafone’s in-country roaming reaches the most remote areas, allowing access to up-to-the-minute information on maintenance, power supply and machine tracking via GPS; -- Sanku can accurately monitor fortification levels to ensure communities are receiving the benefits of fortified flour; and -- Vodafone’s M-Pesa mobile money service is being used to enable millers to securely make and receive payments on their smartphones, further improving Sanku ability to scale.

Vodafone and Sanku are rolling out Vodafone’s global IoT SIM and USB Connect technology to local flour mills in Tanzania and Rwanda, and will continue to implement the technology across Eastern and Southern Africa.

Vodafone Group Enterprise Chief Executive Brian Humphries, said: “Our project with Sanku is a perfect example of how the Internet of Things can improve people’s lives and help make a difference in even the poorest of communities. Connected technology gives Sanku the ability to significantly enhance efficiencies, enabling fortified flour to be delivered to more communities, playing an important role in helping to end malnutrition.”

For further information:

Vodafone Group Media Relations Investor Relations www.vodafone.com/media/contact Telephone: +44 (0) 7919 990 230

About VodafoneVodafone Group is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone Group has mobile operations in 25 countries, partners with mobile networks in 46 more, and fixed broadband operations in 18 markets. As of 31 March 2018, Vodafone Group had 535.8 million mobile customers and 19.7 million fixed broadband customers, including India and all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone.com.

About Sanku (Project Healthy Children) (www.sanku.com)Sanku (Project Healthy Children) a not-for-profit social enterprise that has designed a model that explicitly overcomes the challenges of small-scale fortification, with a goal to reach 100 million people by 2025. Sanku is fundamentally changing nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa through their market-based model, reaching vulnerable populations by equipping and incentivizing small-scale maize millers to fortify their flour, the most commonly consumed staple food. Currently, Sanku has projects in Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Malawi, and Mozambique.