The scope and practice of behaviour change communication to improve infant and young child feeding in low- and middle-income countries


We describe features of the landscape of behaviour change communication (BCC) practice devoted to infant and young child feeding (IYCF) in low‐ and middle‐income countries by practitioners in international development organizations. We used an iterative, snowball sampling procedure to identify participants, and the self‐administered questionnaire contained pre‐coded questions and open‐ended questions, relying primarily on content analysis to derive generalizations.

Highlights of findings include (i) IYCF‐specific BCC is usually delivered within the context of other public health messages and programmes; (ii) technical assistance with programme development and implementation are primary activities, and evaluation‐related work is also common; and (iii) formative research and evaluation is universal, but process evaluation is not. With respect to scaling up nutrition: (i) use of mass media and digital technology generally play only a minor role in BCC activities and are not currently an integral part of BCC programming strategies and (ii) only 58% of the participants report activities related to communication with policy makers.

The individuals who comprise the community of BCC leaders in the area of IYCF are a diverse group from the perspective of academic backgrounds and nationalities. In addition to nutrition, public health, agriculture and adult learning are common disciplinary backgrounds. In our view, this diversity is a source of strength. It facilitates continuing growth and maturation in the field by assuring inputs of different perspectives, theoretical orientations and experiences.

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