26 December 2021

Social and Behavior Change Communication Strategy

Good nutrition during the first 1,000-days of life from conception until the child’s second birthday is crucial to the future health, well-being and success of a child, and the economic prosperity of a country. The right nutrition during this period is critical for brain development, healthy growth, a strong immune system, and protection from chronic disease later in life. If children do not get the right nutrients in the right quantities during this period, the damage is often irreversible. The first 1000 days of life provides a critical window of opportunity to develop a health and nutrition foundation to impact a child’s entire life, and that of the country. It provides an opportunity to reduce the double burden of malnutrition in the Maldives. Social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) interventions are key interventions for addressing social and cultural barriers to achieving nutrition goals, thereby reducing morbidity and mortality from nutrition-preventable health causes of any country. The purpose of this ‘First 1000-Days of Life SBCC strategy’ document is to provide strategic direction and to guide actions within the scope of nutrition, from conception until a child is aged up to 2-years, towards the attainment of a healthier Maldivian population throughout the life-cycle. The strategy is based on contextual and proximal assessment of the determinants of malnutrition in Maldives, communication pathways, and consideration of the priorities of Ministry of Health and community. The strategy reflects well with the National Health Master Plan 2016-2025 and the international and nationally agreed guidance on nutrition, including evidence growth, development and disease risk in later life, models and theories of behaviour change, global best practice standards and lessons learned from addressing the 1000-day window of opportunity through SBCC strategies. The SBCC strategy document provides clear, concise, easily adaptable, practical guidance for organizing a strategic, efficient, coordinated SBCC package of activities that effectively protect, promote and support appropriate maternal nutrition and infant and young child feeding (IYCF) throughout the Republic of the Maldives.