Iraq had three deployments, the first in Social and Behavior Change, the second in Assessments and the third in IYCF-E. 

Social and Behavior Change Deployment 

Reason for request:

Iraq is experiencing high stunting rates with nearly one-fourth (23%) of the children are stunted and the current crisis will most likely contribute to the worsening of the situation. Infant and young child feeding practices are sub optimal which is contributing to the nutrition crisis.

The ongoing humanitarian response in Iraq has been more complicated than ever before due to recent Mosul operation leading to huge amount of human displacement. Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps have been set up and IDPs are arriving. There is a need to re-vitalize the Nutrition sub-working group to better coordinate the nutrition response. UNICEF Requested a Social Behavior Change (SBC) Advisor to propose an outline of the response strategy.

A Tech RRT SBC Advisor was deployed to conduct a Barrier Analysis on IYCF behaviors, develop an SBC strategy and Key messages based on the formative research finding that promote key behaviors that will prevent morbidity and mortality in the IDP camps.


  • Barrier Analysis (BA) training was conducted for a total of 45 participants from Directorate of Health of Erbil and Dohuk Governorate, Samaritan Purse and UNICEF to capacitate partners to conduct SBC studies for their program design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation.
  • Barrier Analysis formative research on IYCF behaviors and practices were done in eight IDP camps in Erbil and Dohuk Governorate of Kurdistan Region-Iraq.
  • A set of Key messages related to key studied behaviors was developed and shared.
  • Findings of the Barrier Analysis formative research, A set of Key messages related to key studied behaviors as well as a detailed SBC strategy were presented to all Governorate Directorate of Health (DoH) and Nutrition Working Groups (NWG) and Health Cluster for validation and discussion.
  • A detailed SBC strategy action plan and activities including milestones and indicators to monitor and evaluate the success of the plan was developed and shared.

Assessment Deployment

Reason for request:

Ongoing humanitarian response in Iraq has been more complicated than ever before due to recent Mosul operation leading to huge amount of human displacement. IDP camps have been set and IDP’s are arriving. There is a Health Cluster coordinating the Health and Nutrition responses but there is a felt need and agreement between partners to re-vitalize a Nutrition sub-working group to better coordinate the nutrition responses and feed the partners under Health Cluster. UNICEF is seeking support from the Technical Rapid Response team to deploy a technical expert to guide on Nutrition Assessment and propose an outline of the response strategy.

Providing support and building the capacity of stakeholders involved in humanitarian responses due to Mosul crisis, particularly in the field of Nutrition Assessments. The Tech RRT Adviser will lead an Assessment of Nutrition Situation in IDP camps using the SMART methodology. Based in Erbil, UNICEF will coordinate with other partners engaged on the ground to get their input for the survey design and methods.


  • After reviewing all available reports and visiting several IDP camps the assessment protocol was created in collaboration with assessment management staff.
  • Led successful Enumerator training; including, 27 provincial Department of Health staff which attended the training and the 4 assessment supervisors (2 UNICEF, 2 NRI) assisted with facilitating. The training included required anthropometry standardization test, hemo-cue standardization test and field test of questionnaire.
  • Trained 3 data entry staff to use Epi Info 7 software to create data entry templates, ENA for SMART double data entry function and oversaw the entire data entry process.
  • Conduct analysis of Nutrition /Anthropometry results and presented the high quality results to stakeholders

IYCF-E Deployment 

Name of Sector IYCF-E

Date of Deployment: 6th December, 2016 to 4th February, 2017

Reason for request:

The conflict between armed groups in Iraq has had profound humanitarian consequences. Military operations to retake Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) started on October 17, 2016. On 29th January 2017, 161,208 people were living in displacement due to the military operation in Mosul. Since the crisis began, some 188,000 people were accumulatively displaced, with nearly 30,000 people returned back to their liberated village[1].

The IYCF practice in Iraq was very low, early initiation of breast feeding and exclusive breast feeding practice was only 42.8% and 19% respectively[2]. Infant formula has been part of the food basket (general food distribution) for more than 20 years and there has been uncontrolled distribution of Breast Milk Substitutes in the host community and in the Internal Displaced Person (IDP) camps.

The objective of deployment of the IYCF-E technical advisor was to strengthen the delivery of the IYCF-E response through the provision of senior leadership, technical support and capacity building during deployment to stakeholders involved in the humanitarian response due to the Mosul crisis.

Key Outputs: 

  1. A one day workshop on IYCF-E was organized by UNICEF in collaboration with Tech RRT and ministry of health. The objective of this workshop was to orient staff from ministry of health and partners on the importance of IYCF particularly during emergency, integration of IYCF into other sectors and to do SWOT analysis on the IYCF response
  2. Facilitated a two day technical training on IYCF-E organized by UNICEF in collaboration with ministry of health and Tech RRT. The objective of the training was to increase the knowledge and skills of health and nutrition experts from UNICEF, MOH and NGOs on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergency (IYCF-E).
  3. Developed simple guidelines for management of BMS and shared with UNICEF health and nutrition staff as well as with NWG members.
  4. Developed key IYCF messages for camp managers: The objective of developing the key messages was to create awareness among camp managers about the importance of breast feeding and the danger of uncontrolled distribution of BMS during emergency. The key messages developed and shared with NWG members.
  5. Developed an IYCF-E plan of action: The IYCF-E action plan was developed based on the gaps identified and the SWOT analysis result. The IYCF-E action plan was shared with UNICEF.

[1] Iraq: Mosul Humanitarian Response Situation Report No. 18 (23 January – 29 January 2017)

[2] MultiIndicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2011