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Men in feilds

Fighting against malnutrition

Case Study | September 2018


Sanku relies on Vodafone IoT to optimise performance of next-generation flour mills.

Business Need

Two billion people around the world suffer from micronutrient malnutrition. The impact can last a lifetime, with effects such as birth defects, child development issues, and blindness. It is catastrophic for the individual, and deeply damaging to the national economy. Fortified flour offers a practical solution. The challenge is helping remote communities maximise the effectiveness of their flour mills.

Sanku, a not-for-profit social enterprise, believes it has a solution. The organisation has created a first-of-its-kind technology, the Sanku dosifier machine. The dosifier enables small African flour mills in rural areas to fortify flour with precise amounts of key nutrients during the milling process. Already working with 150 flour mills and reaching close to a million people, Sanku has identified an additional 3,000 mills in Tanzania, and up to 15,000 across East Africa. If it can replace 15,000 traditional mills with its dosifier, it can positively impact 100 million lives.

Remoteness is the key issue here. A journey that may take two hours in Europe could take ten hours on unpaved roads in parts of Tanzania. This presents a huge challenge to Sanku. In order to monitor remote mills across a country three times the size of the UK – as well as planned expansion into other East African countries - the company needed a reliable and scalable connectivity solution.


The solution is to collect the data and transmit to a central, cloud-based database via the Vodafone Managed IoT Connectivity Platform. Vodafone 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. Performance data is transmitted every five minutes, from nutrient ratios to cooling, from weight readings to feed screw speeds. It transforms Sanku’s reach, operational efficiency and effectiveness of each mill. This data can be used to plan servicing, tweak performance, and inform the next-generation dosifier design.

It also vastly improves Sanku’s effectiveness. In the past, one Sanku worker could only monitor 25 mills, which would fortify flour to feed 125,000 people. The Vodafone Managed IoT Connectivity Platform now connects the same worker to 100 mills. The Sanku worker receives alerts remotely and in real-time when the mills run out of fortified flour or when the mill requires maintenance. Sanku aims to have 3,000 dosifiers operational in Tanzania by 2021, reaching approximately 20 million people.

Business Benefits

  • Transforms operational performance, allowing Sanku engineers to supply and service four times as many units than previously
  • Extracts regular data from remote mills, improving productivity and informing future product design
  • Provides the scale to drive rapid roll-out, with a target of 15,000 connected units by 2025
“We want to reach 100 million people by 2025. The only company with that scale and that footprint in East Africa, is Vodafone.”
Felix Books-Church, Co-founder & CEO, Sanku

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