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Innovations, lessons learned and good practices

Djibouti 'Grandmothers promote exclusive breastfeeding as the key communication actors' (Lessons learned)

Year: 2009
Major Area: Young Child Survival and Development
Sub Area: Communication for Development (C4D)
Language: English

Only 1.3 per cent of the Djibouti mothers were exclusively breastfeeding their children (MICS, 2006). In the field of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) and especially for exclusive breastfeeding, a qualitative study was conducted in 2007. This allowed the identification of grandmothers as the most influential communication actors both in the family and in the community. Grandmothers were found to be the guardians of traditional values and are well listened to by mothers. Following the study, 11 grandmothers were identified and trained in 2008, not only in the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding but also in nutrition of pregnant and lactating women and complementary feeding after six months. Communication materials and advocacy efforts helped religious and political leaders to learn the value of the work of grandmothers in the field, thus strengthening this holistic approach. In 2009, 47,962 women received key messages through ground sessions and home visits organized by 156 trained grandmothers. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life has now increased to 24 per cent (2010), although much remains to be done. The intervention demonstrates the importance of building a Communication for Development (C4D) strategy around the key actors 'grandmothers' who are central to the community and family in Djibouti. In 2011 and 2012 the programme will be extended to other regions outside of the main cities to reach more people in remote areas.

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