About us


We are dedicated to supporting distributors to help them reach millions of underserved customers with life-changing products, and to developing the last mile distribution sector as a whole.


Our vision

A world in which all communities have access to beneficial products that improve their lives

Our mission

To help last mile distributors make beneficial products affordable and available to all

Our strategic goals

Help distributors improve business performance and grow, by providing – and enabling others to provide – solutions and services that help save time, reduce costs, build capacity and develop catalytic partnerships.       

Build a collective voice for the sector by generating and sharing learnings, raising the profile of distributors, and helping the broader ecosystem to work effectively with distributors to achieve shared impact goals.

Our Strategy 2022-25

This document lays out the GDC’s aims and ambitions for 2022 to 2025. It includes the six key workstreams that we will drive to help last mile distributors to improve business performance and grow, and to help build an enabling environment for distributors to thrive.

Still have questions? Find out more about who we are and what we do…

Check out this overview from Emma Colenbrander, Former Head of the GDC and current Advisory Council member.

  • Why does the GDC exist?

    Billions of people around the world do not have access to products like solar lights, water filters, clean cookstoves and nutrition products. This is because distribution of these products is difficult and expensive, and because customers have low incomes and often live in remote, hard-to-reach areas. This is known as ‘The Access Gap’.

    Last mile distribution organisations (“LMDs”) specifically target this last mile market, which is overlooked by the traditional private sector. But they face a range of challenges: they operate in isolation within high-risk/low-infrastructure markets, with little capacity and limited access to finance. Instead of learning from and leveraging one another, they are continuously reinventing the wheel.

    We believe that last mile distributors, and the products they sell, have a vital role to play in alleviating global poverty and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.

    The GDC works to support last mile distributors and the underserved customers that they seek to reach. We adopt a systems approach, implementing ‘collective’ interventions that support the growth of the sector as a whole. We also help the broader ecosystem – including manufacturers, service providers, investors, donors and governments – to work more effectively with last mile distributors to achieve shared goals.

  • Who does the GDC represent?

    The GDC is the world’s only entity dedicated to supporting last mile distributors across sectors and across geographies. The GDC is bottom-up and demand driven, conceived by distributors themselves, with activities designed and implemented in close consultation with members.

    GDC members must fulfill the following criteria:

    • Sell household products that contribute to one of more of the Sustainable Development Goals, such as solar lights, improved cookstoves, water filters, nutrition products, agri inputs/machinery and off-grid appliances.
    • Target the ‘last mile’, ie people who are low income or live in remote areas, or both.
    • Focus primarily on distribution at the household-level. Organisations may be exclusive distributors of one company’s products, or distributors of products from a range of companies. They may work with white-label manufacturers to produce their own branded products, or be subsidiaries of companies that have a broader mission. But a significant part of their business is distribution. The GDC is not for organisations that are focused on manufacturing, or on selling to businesses, NGOs, communities or government agencies.
    • Be willing to share information with others, since peer-to-peer sharing and collective action is at the core of the GDC’s vision and mode of intervention.
  • How do last mile distributors help to address “the access gap”?

  • Who else does the GDC work with?

    The GDC works with a range of partners to develop and deliver support and services that help last mile distributors to achieve impact and growth. Our recent partners include investors like Acumen, associations like GOGLA and the Clean Cooking Alliance, coalitions like Efficiency for Access, partnerships like CGAP, TA providers like Value for Women, and academic institutions like the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

    Get in touch if you would like to work with us: GDC@practicalaction.org.uk

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