Behaviour change communication (BCC) is a critical component of infant and young child feeding (IYCF) interventions. In this study we asked BCC practitioners working in low‐ and middle‐income countries to participate in an examination of BCC practice. We focus here on results of their personal reflections related to larger issues of practice. We used a combination of iterative triangulation and snowball sampling procedures to obtain a sample of 29 BCC professionals.
Major themes include:
- participants using tools and guidelines to structure their work, and many consider their organisation's tools to be their most important contribution to the field;
- they value research to facilitate programme design and implementation;
- half felt research needed to increase;
- they have a strong commitment to respecting cultural beliefs and culturally appropriate programming;
- they are concerned about lack of a strong theoretical foundation for their work.
Based on participants' perspectives and the authors' reflections, we identified the following needs:
- conducting a systematic examination of the alternative theoretical structures that are available for nutrition BCC, followed by a review of the evidence base and suggestions for future programmatic research to fill the gaps in knowledge;
- developing a checklist of common patterns to facilitate efficiency in formative research;
- developing an analytic compendium of current IYCF BCC guidelines and tools;
- developing tools and guidelines that cover the full programme process, including use of innovative channels to support ‘scaling up nutrition’; and
- continued support for programmes of proven effectiveness.