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Proceedings of UNICEF/GNC/SC UK workshop on IYCF in development and emergencies

The report is now available of a 5 day workshop on infant and young child feeding (IYCF) in development and in emergencies (IYCF-E) held from 25th-29th June, 2012 in London. The workshop was organised by Save the Children UK, funded and in partnership with UNICEF (IYCF and Emergency Units) and the Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC).

The overall objective of the workshop was to support agencies to improve non-emergency IYCF programming (essential emergency preparedness) and to inform development-sensitive IYCF-E programming. The workshop was attended by 67 participants representing international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), United Nations (UN) agencies, donors, academics, government, and independent experts. The workshop brought practitioners working on IYCF in both emergencies and development contexts together.

The specific aims of the meeting were to share experiences and challenges in IYCF and IYCF-E programming in different contexts, to disseminate IYCF and IYCF-E policies and capacity development tools, and to discuss recent developments in programming, assessment/M&E and coordination. Two days each were devoted to IYCF and IYCF-E respectively, with half a day spent on discussing the necessary “handshake” needed to bridge the emergency/development ‘divide’ that often exists. Action plans were developed through the course of the workshop and finalised in Day 5 (these will be followed up in 3-6 months).

The workshop opened with a review of the global situation on IYCF and IYCF-E and was followed by a participatory gap analysis on IYCF/IYCF-E programming and ‘infrastructure’. There were common areas of IYCF/IYCF-E concern in terms of poor understanding of M&E and indicators, lack of programme funding, lack of policy/poor implementation, lack of understanding of what constitutes ‘good’ IYCF/IYCF-E programming and few trained frontline staff.

The workshop highlighted that for IYCF, key policies, strategies, design and implementation tools for IYCF recommended interventions are now available. The Programming Guide on Infant and Young Child Feeding (2012) by UNICEF was highlighted as a key resource for IYCF programme planning and implementation. While IYCF-E is also supported by a variety of policies, strategies, guidelines and resources, it still lacks key tools to support implementation.

Four key issues arose through the workshop with a call for immediate commitment and action:

Finally, the report recommends the development of a strategy on IYCF-E setting out the key actions needed and timeframe to aid in coordinating efforts and to serve as an advocacy tool. It concludes with a recommendation for an urgent meeting between key players in order to discuss outcomes of this workshop and to frame this strategy.

For more information, contact: Ali Maclaine, SCUK, email: A.Maclaine@savethechildren.org.uk Access the full report at: http://www.unicef.org/nutritioncluster/

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Proceedings of UNICEF/GNC/SC UK workshop on IYCF in development and emergencies. Field Exchange 44, December 2012. p42. www.ennonline.net/fex/44/proceedings