IYCF-E Deployment: 05/01/2016-29/01/2016

Reason for request:

Ethiopia is experiencing its worst drought in thirty years, threatening over 30 million people across the affected area. At the time of deployment, the evaluation of the number of Severely Acute Malnourished (SAM) children in country was at 425,000 and the main nutrition response is based on the expansion of Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programs. Breastfeeding is widely practiced in Ethiopia as continued breastfeeding at one and two-years-old were at 96% and 82% respectively before the crisis[1]. However, other pre-crisis Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) indicators demonstrated several gaps regarding the quality of the breastfeeding (51.5% of mothers initiated breastfeeding within one hour of birth and only 52% of mothers exclusively breastfed). There is a National strategy on Adolescent, maternal, infant and young child nutrition and several programs on IYCF, but no changes have been done to adapt those programs to the current emergency.

As a nutrition cluster lead, UNICEF is committed to scale up its response and support the government of Ethiopia to address vulnerable children with lifesaving and quality treatment of severe malnutrition.

The Tech RRT IYCF-E Specialist was deployed to promote and support the IYCF component of the current Ethiopia Nutrition response through technical input including capacity building of Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Department of Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPB), UNICEF and Nutrition Cluster partners’ staff.


  • Workshop with FMOH, Multi Agency Nutrition Task Force and UNICEF members to create awareness of IYCF-E, generate discussion on implementation of an action plan including setting up an IYCF-E working group
  • Development of a curricula for an IYCF-E orientation for health workers on how to adapt IYCF to the current emergency context
  • Developed guidance for Mother to Mother Support groups, breastfeeding safe spaces and proposed actions for monitoring of breast milk substitute donations and use
  • Provided recommendations on IYCF-E friendly activities to be integrated by other clusters (Health, WASH, Food Security, Education and Protection)

[1] EDHS 2011