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More about the IFE Core Group

The formation of the IFE Core Group followed on from a key meeting, hosted by IBFAN in Geneva in 1995 which, while recognising the need for the provision of small amounts of breastmilk substitutes (BMS) in emergency situations, identified the need to protect mothers and children from the indiscriminate distribution of BMS.

What does the IFE Core Group do?

The IFE Core Group aims to protect child survival, growth and development for populations affected by emergencies protected from further negative impacts. Through its work, it improves the services received by mothers, caregivers and their children and safeguards feeding and care of infants and young children in humanitarian contexts by:

•Improving the awareness of IYCF-E and what is required for timely appropriate support and to minimize risks during a humanitarian response.
•Increasing the uptake of the Operational Guidance on IYCF-E through integration into relevant national and agency preparedness and response policies, guidelines, procedures and costed plans; and
•Influencing progress in the protection, promotion and support of appropriate child feeding and care by mothers, families, care providers and communities.

IFE Core Group main activities and outputs

A.     Gaps, challenges and issues identified; experiences and lessons learned documented and brought to the IFE Core Group and other stakeholders for action and support.

The IFE Core Group tracks emerging issues and challenges related to infant and young child care and feeding in active emergencies and brings them to the attention of other core group members and relevant groups and initiatives for their attention, support and action. This process helps to identify gaps in knowledge and practice and potential areas for research which the core group seeks to identify ways of addressing. The Core Group also documents evidence, experiences and lessons learned, including those related to uptake of the Operational Guidance and other outputs of the Core Group’s work.

B.     Resource materials to support feeding and care of children in humanitarian settings developed and provided in accessible formats and widely used means

Building on the development and updating of the IYCF-E OpsG, the Core Group continues to engage in the translation and dissemination of the guidance. The Core Group also works on the development and update of training materials to ensure that they reflect changes in the guidance. As new issues emerge and knowledge is developed which can support practice, the Core Group supports the development of stop-gap guidance materials and other resources which can support policy makers and practitioners. Such work might be led by the Core Group, one of its members or by a third party; and Core Group members identify opportunities to feed   into these processes. Core Group members also provide peer-to-peer support through en-net, webinars and other online platforms; and by responding to technical needs as identified and shared through Global Technical Assistance Mechanism for Nutrition (GTAM).

C.     Advocacy and communication strategies developed and implemented

The Core Group engages with global platforms related to nutrition and health in emergencies such as GNC (link) and FSC (link) to raise the profile of key issues related to the feeding and care of infants and young children in humanitarian contexts. The Core Group is represented in the World Health Assembly, the World   Breastfeeding Conference and the World Breastfeeding Week and other identified relevant opportunities. The Core Group develops and updates communication   material related to the feeding and care of infants and young children in humanitarian contexts as well as appropriate communication and advocacy strategies on core emerging issues.

IFE Core Group Strategy


Reference this page

LD (2020). More about the IFE Core Group.



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