Global Nutrition Cluster


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There are different tools, guidance, training packages and other resources available related to Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies. Some key resources are included here.





IYCF Programme Guide, May 2011 [pdf]
This programming guide produced by UNICEF is a comprehensive document that covers topics on national level strategic planning as well as action areas for programme implementation. It also has a large section of additional resources and tools.

Operational Guidance on IYCF in Emergencies, v2.1, February 2007
This guidance is available from the IFE Core Group in 13 languages. The guidance provides concise practical but mainly non-technical guidance on how to ensure appropriate infant and young child feeding in emergencies. It is a living document and is updated as new evidence emerges and policies change. It has been endorsed by a large number of agencies, organisations and donors. It is suitable for everyone from nutrition and health workers, logisticians and programme managers to policy makers, at headquarters and field level.
The translation of the Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Japanese and Chinese versions was supported by the GNC.

Indicators for assessing infant and young child feeding practices
Developed by WHO with partners, indicators are described in three companion documents:

  • Part 1: Definitions, 2008 [pdf]. Part 1 describes the background, justification, uses, limitations, and definitions of a set of eight core and seven optional indicators.
  • Part 2: Measurement, 2010 [pdf]. Part 2 is the operational guide, which provides tool for collection and calculation of the indicators. It is intended primarily for use by large-scale surveys. It includes a short discussion of sampling, an example questionnaire with interviewer instructions, instructions for calculating indicator values, and suggestions for adapting the questionnaire to the survey context, as well as tools in 4 annexes.
  • Part 3: Country profiles, 2010 [pdf]. The new indicator values can be considered as baseline data. It is expected that in the future, surveys will generate similar data that can then be used for tracking progress.

Infant and young child feeding practices, 2010. Collecting and Using Data: A Step-by-Step Guide
The Step-by-Step Guide [pdf], developed by Care USA,  provides additional instruction to help adapt the WHO operational guide above for use with smaller-scale surveys where data are obtained from mothers or primary caregivers of living children 0-23 months of age. The Guide provides assistance with the selection of indicators for a small-scale survey, choice of sampling strategy, entering and cleaning IYCF data, and analyzing the data and reporting the results.


The purpose of this Planning Guide for national implementation, developed by WHO/UNICEF, is to help translate the aim, objectives and operational targets of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding into concrete, focused national strategy, policy and action plans. The guide is written for programme managers in governments and their partners, primarily those working in maternal and child health and nutrition. It proposes a step-wise process to develop a country-specific strategy, with plans to be implemented in support of appropriate infant and young child feeding, especially in the first two years of life.

This Guide has two parts. Part I is intended to help a responsible individual or group through the steps proposed, and focuses on the process involved in developing a national infant and young child feeding strategy. Part II provides details and references related to the content of the various components of a plan of action that are related to the operational targets of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding.

Media Guide on IYCF
This is a two-page flyer outlining how the media can help protect and support appropriate and safe infant and young child feeding in emergencies in English[pdf], French [pdf], Arabic[pdf], German[doc], Italian [pdf] and Spanish [pdf].

Guiding Principles for Feeding Infants and Young Children during Emergencies, WHO, 2004 [pdf]
This document provides 10 guiding principles for IYCF, with explanations of the importance of each, implications during emergencies and suggested actions.

Improving Exclusive Breast-feeding Practices by Using Communication for Development (C4D) in Infant & Young Child Feeding Programmes, UNICEF, 2010 [pdf]
This module is part of a web-based orientation series with information that will assist decision-makers to design policies and programmes to improve breastfeeding practices. The module combined with the subsequent web-based workshop aims to a) highlight benefits and challenges of making exclusive breastfeeding the norm, b) provide an understanding for the C4D approach and how to integrate these principles into programmes, and c) emphasize the importance of community empowerment and social transformation to achieve and sustain improvements in exclusive breastfeeding practices.


International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk substitutes

International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, Geneva, 1981 [pdf]
The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes is an international health policy framework for breastfeeding promotion adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1981.The Code was developed as a global public health strategy and recommends restrictions on the marketing of breastmilk substitutes, such as infant formula, to ensure that mothers are not discouraged from breastfeeding and that substitutes are used safely if needed. The Code aims to shield breastfeeding from commercial promotion that affects mothers, health workers and health care systems. The Code and resolutions also contain specific provisions and recommendations relating to labelling of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes.
The Code also covers ethical considerations and regulations for the marketing of feeding bottles and teats. A number of subsequent WHA resolutions have further clarified or extended certain provisions of the Code.

The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes: lessons learned and implications for the regulation of marketing of foods and beverages to children, 2012
The objective of this article was to identify lessons learned from 30 years of implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes ('the Code') and identify lessons learned for the regulation of marketing foods and beverages to children

The International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. Frequently asked questions (updated version 2008).
The purpose of this document  [pdf] is to provide easy-to-read detailed information on specific questions related to the Code. It is indented for policy makers and others concerned with the Code, as well as the general public.


Strengthening Infant and Young Child Feeding Programming and Planning for Emergency Preparedness and Response. Proceedings of an international workshop, 25th-29th June 2012 [pdf]
The workshop was organised and funded by Save the Children UK, in partnership with UNICEF (IYCF and Emergency Units) and the Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC) in recognition of the need to support agencies to improve non-emergency IYCF programming, as the best way to ensure good IYCF practices during emergencies, and to improve appropriate IYCF-E programming.
The aims of the meeting were to share experiences, challenges and lessons-learnt in IYCF and IYCF-E programming in different contexts, to disseminate IYCF and IYCF-E policies and capacity development tools, and to discuss recent developments in programming, assessment/M&E and coordination.

Model Joint Statement [doc] was developed at the Regional IFE Strategy Workshop in Bali in March 2008, based on a joint statement issued by WHO, UNICEF and IFRC during the Indonesia earthquake response. It was developed in the interest of emergency preparedness in the region.

Example Joint Statement from Haiti
This was a joint statement from the Ministry of Public Health and the UN agencies produced by the Nutrition Cluster after the 2010 earthquake. It is available in both English [pdf] and French [pdf].

Key Messages on IYCF for mothers and caregivers. These are available in English [doc] and French [doc].

Protecting Infants in Emergencies: The role of the public, January 2007
This describes what happens on the ground in emergencies, what works to dispel some myths surrounding infant feeding in emergencies and details what the general public can do to help.

The GNC prepared a presentation on importance of infant and young child feeding in emergencies for survival of children in Syria context [ppt] which will be used to advocate for IYCF-E with the following key messages:

  • Supporting and protecting optimal infant and young child feeding in the Syria crisis is an essential intervention to save children’s lives.
  • While there is currently a lack of information on the health, nutrition  situation and survival of infants and young children we know that the established risks of poor feeding practices are amplified under the current conditions faced by infants in the Syria crisis - additional data on the need would be useful but we already have evidence do we need a proven catastrophe before acting?
  • There needs to be funding for an IMMEDIATE appropriate IYCF-E response in the region (that following international guidance)



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