Many countries have acknowledged community-based infant and young child feeding (C-IYCF) promotion, counseling, and support as one of the key pillars of IYCF strategies. In 2009, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) agreed that a global, generic IYCF training package was needed. UNICEF committed to leading the development of the proposed response. The C-IYCF Counselling Package provides information and guidance for community volunteers (CV) and primary health care staff for supporting mothers, fathers, and other caregivers to optimally feed their infants and young children.
To date, more than 60 countries have used some or all components of the Package. Although there has been strong global interest in the C-IYCF Counselling Package relatively little is known about its impact on maternal, infant, and young child nutrition practices in areas where the full training package is being implemented.
Nigeria offered a unique opportunity to address this major gap in knowledge because its Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), with support from two USAID-funded global nutrition projects—the Infant and Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) project and the Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) project, has made a significant investment in adapting the generic C-IYCF Counselling Package to the Nigerian context and translated it into six local languages. The adapted Nigeria C-IYCF Counselling Package has been utilized by the Government of Nigeria and various development partners in 29 of 36 Nigerian states.
In addition to a quantitative impact evaluation, SPRING conducted a qualitative study to answer some key questions regarding the policy, systems, political, and social context that enabled or hampered the development of the C-IYCF Counselling Package ; the implementation processes, including achievements and challenges; sustainability and scale-up of the program; and finally, lessons learned for sustainability and spread.