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Community based infant and young child feeding

Accelerating interventions aimed at improving infant and young child feeding (IYCF) at community level is a key priority in the effort to improve survival, growth, and development of children with equity. However, in many communities IYCF practices remain far from optimal. Caregivers often lack the practical support, one-to-one counselling and correct information. Community-based IYCF counselling and support can play an important role in improving these practices: it can ensure access to these services in the poorest and the most vulnerable communities with limited access to health care, and therefore become an important strategy for programming with an equity focus. 

In 2010, UNICEF developed a new set of generic tools for programming and capacity development on community based IYCF counselling with high quality graphic illustrations for low-literacy contexts. Aimed for use in diverse country contexts, the package of tools guides local adaptation, design, planning and implementation of community based IYCF counselling and support services at scale. It also contains training tools to equip community workers (CWs), using an interactive and experiential adult learning approach, with relevant knowledge and skills on the recommended breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices for children from 0 up to 24 months, enhance their counselling, problem solving, negotiation and communication skills, and prepare them to effectively use the related counselling tools and job aids. To date, a large number of countries have adapted the materials to the local context, building capacity and rolling out community based IYCF counseling and communication using the package.

The generic package components are living documents. Lessons learned from training sessions across Africa and Asia were incorporated into the 2012 second edition, which also includes some additional components such as home fortification of complementary foods and early childhood development, and a supervision, mentoring and monitoring module was developed and field tested, with a final version dated October 2013. Further updates to the Facilitator Guide and Participant materials were made in 2013.

To facilitate the future use of high-quality, adaptable images in IYCF and other nutrition social and behavior change programs, UNICEF collaborated with SPRING for the establishment of an IYCF Digital Image Bank. This is a digital repository of images on topics related to IYCF/nutrition, hygiene, and health. The IYCF Digital Image Bank contains over 100 editable images from the generic UNICEF C-IYCF Counseling Package, and more than 600 additional images, including adaptations created for other countries and contexts.

French version of the generic Community IYCF Counselling Package:

Some examples of materials and adaptations from selected countries and partners:

Philippines counseling cards

Nepal counseling cards

India counseling cards

Madagascar counseling cards

Nigeria counseling cards

Kenya (Dadaab) counseling cards


For more information about the package, roll out and implementation plans, please contact mailto:iycn@unicef.org?Subject=Information%20about%20Community%20based%20infant%20and%20young%20child%20feeding




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