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IYCF-E individual capacity assessment tool

Author: Save the Children and the Nutrition Technical Rapid Response Team (Tech RRT) with the support of the members of the IFE Core Group
Year: 2020
Resource type: Field tool


1.1 Infant and young child feeding

Breastfeeding is one of the most cost-effective interventions to improve child survival. It is estimated that the scaling up of breastfeeding to a near universal level could prevent 823,000 annual deaths, or 13·8% of all deaths of children younger than 24 months. In addition, breastfeeding prevents almost 20,000 annual deaths from breast cancer.1

Suboptimal breastfeeding results in an increased risk for mortality in the first two years of life. It is estimated that undernutrition in the aggregate—including foetal growth restriction, stunting, wasting, and deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc along with suboptimal breastfeeding—is the cause of 3·1 million child deaths annually or 45% of all child deaths in 2011.2 Non-breastfed infants are 14 times more likely to die from pneumonia and 10 times more likely to die of diarrhoea than breastfed children.3

Complementary feeding interventions have the potential to improve the nutritional status of children in low- and middle-income countries. Provision of appropriate complementary foods, with or without nutritional education, and maternal nutritional counselling alone, lead to significant increases in weight and height in children 6–24 months of age; these interventions can also significantly reduce the risk of stunting.4

There is a need to support infant and young child feeding (IYCF) in all humanitarian settings. Increased risks such as poor sanitation, disease outbreaks, donation of Breastmilk substitutes (BMS) including infant formula, overcrowding, stress, and trauma, mean that support for appropriate feeding is critical for child survival and the protection of infants and young children. IYCF in emergencies (IYCF-E) must be included as one of the first activities of a response and there is opportunity to integrate IYCF-E with other sectors. However, despite the evidence that appropriate and timely support of IYCF-E saves lives, it is rarely prioritised or adequately supported.

1.2 Individual capacity assessment tool

Assessment of available capacities to provide context-specific orientation/training on IYCF-E is one of the six practical steps set out in the Operational Guidance on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies developed by the IFE Core Group.5 The capacity assessment tool can be used before an emergency (in the preparedness phase) as well as during an emergency.

This tool was developed to help organisations understand what individual technical capacity exists and what types of capacity development activities are needed to provide high quality IYCF services during a humanitarian emergency. Lack of organisational, financial, and human resource capacity can be a barrier to providing quality IYCF services. Therefore, this individual capacity assessment tool should be used as part of a wider capacity assessment.

1.3 Contents of the tool

This tool includes an introduction about the importance of infant and young child feeding, objectives of the tool, the target groups, who can use this tool and how to use it. It also includes questions to assess personal profile, experience, and past training as well as participants’ knowledge of IYCF-E.
A brief description about data analysis and utilisation is also included.


Original link to resource here.


1 Victora C. G., Aluisio J. D., Barros A. J. D., Franca G. V. A., Horten S., Krasevec J., … The Lancet Breastfeeding’s Series Group (2016). ‘Breastfeeding in the 21st century: Epidemiology, mechanism, and lifelong effect’. The Lancet, 2016(387), 475–490. PubMed:

2 Black R. E., Victora C. G., Walker S. P., et al. ‘Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries’. The Lancet. 2013;382(9890):427–451. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(13)60937-x. - DOI – PubMed:

3 Black R. E., Allen L. H., Bhutta Z. A., et al. ‘Maternal and child undernutrition: global and regional exposures and health consequences’. The Lancet. 2008;371(9608):243–260. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(07)61690-0. - DOI – PubMed:

4 Darnton-Hill I., ‘Interventions for improving complementary feeding practices’, World Health Organization:

5 IFE Core Group, Operational Guidance on Infant Feeding in Emergencies version 3.0:


IYCF-E-individual-capacity-assessment-tool_Arabic.pdf (PDF, 5.5mb)

IYCF-E-individual-capacity-assessment-tool_French.pdf (PDF, 1.8mb)

IYCF-E-individual-capacity-assessment-tool_Spanish.pdf (PDF, 1.6mb)

IYCF-E-individual-capacity-assessment-tool_English_Nov2020.pdf (PDF, 1.5mb)


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Save the Children and the Nutrition Technical Rapid Response Team (Tech RRT) with the support of the members of the IFE Core Group (2020). IYCF-E individual capacity assessment tool.



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