USAID Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week Across the Globe


Every year, the USAID-supported NOURISH project teams up with the Ministry of Health to help celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.

Through NOURISH, USAID has trained nearly 4,000 village health volunteers and peer group members across 475 villages in three Cambodian provinces to help mothers and their families adopt and sustain key stunting prevention behaviors, including continued breastfeeding. During World Breastfeeding Week this year, NOURISH conducted a range of interactive group learning activities, including village fairs, community dialogues, and home visits, to demonstrate and reinforce healthy infant and young child feeding behaviors. At this village fair in the Battambang province, USAID-trained volunteers demonstrated proper latching techniques and conducted group education sessions using a breastfeeding story based on a real situation shared by Cambodian mothers.

Background Photo: Breastfeeding at a joint USAID, partner, and Cambodian Government-supported 1,000 Days Village Fair (Igor Dashevskiy)


In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, the USAID-supported Suaahara II project teamed up with Nepal's Ministry of Health (MOH) and other key stakeholders to put on a variety of events.

USAID, through Suaahara II, organized gatherings that highlighted the importance of early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months as well as extended breastfeeding with complementary feeding up to 2 years of age and beyond. The same messages were shared through other platforms, such as print media and over 75 radio stations, using "Mother Says" branded radio jingles.

Suaahara II also shared key breastfeeding messages through interpersonal and group communication with newly elected municipal officials, health facility staff, members of '1,000 Days' mother groups, and others. Key decision makers, including fathers, mothers-in-law, and grandparents were also engaged to support good breastfeeding practices.

"I would like to thank the Suuahara II team and the District Public Health Office for giving us the opportunity to learn about the importance of breastfeeding and nutrition for '1,000 Days' mothers. I am sure that in the coming days we will be able to promote these healthy behaviors in our own community." -Ms. Kalika Sapkota, newly elected chairperson of Baglung Municipality

Background Photo: Auxiliary midwives from Tingla, Nepal discuss the importance of breastfeeding with '1,000 Days' women (USAID/Nepal)

Democratic Republic of Congo

During World Breastfeeding Week celebrations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), moms who have received breastfeeding support from USAID-trained community health workers and/or have delivered in a facility where USAID, through the Integrated Health Project Plus (IHP-Plus), has helped enhance infant and young child feeding practices shared stories about how the education and support they received changed their breastfeeding behaviors.

Madame Kayimbo Sekesa, mother of three, delivered her fourth child at a health facility that had received support from USAID through IHP-Plus. She describes how nurses and other health staff’s increased knowledge of early initiation of breastfeeding changed her childbirth experience.

“Bleeding for several days after each birth made me weak and more sick; although my last three children were exclusively breastfed, the introduction to the breast milk was late by several hours while the medical staff fought to stop the bleeding. I encourage nurses to continue to put the baby to the breast on the delivery table because this practice saved me from postpartum bleeding. I am now committed to support and share my experience with other moms.” - Madame Kayimbo

Background Photo: Madame Kayimbo and her baby. (USAID/DRC)


In Mozambique, World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated throughout the month of August, and this year’s events kicked off with a launch event in Maputo on July 31st, in which USAID's Maternal Child Survival Project (MCSP) participated. Other notable launch attendees included Mozambique’s First Lady, the Minister of Health, and Marllen, a popular Mozambican singer whose songs advocate for the best care and nurturing for young children, including feeding them breast milk. Listen to her song “Ser mãe”, or “To Be a Mother”, with English subtitles:

Singer Marllen (center) with other breastfeeding moms, breastfeeding her own son and championing continued breastfeeding during the launch event. (MCSP/Mozambique)

The USAID-funded MCSP and Gorongosa National Park and Buffer Zone (IGBZ) projects, along with partners and the Ministry of Health, also helped coordinate a variety of other activities including lectures, breastfeeding demonstrations, song and poem contests, breastfeeding-themed theatre productions, and World Breastfeeding Week leaflet, poster, and t-shirt handouts for health fairs and education sessions that occurred in various provinces throughout the country.

Background Photo: Kate Holt, MCSP


In Zambia, USAID, through implementing partners Systems for Better Health and the Thrive Project, supported World Breastfeeding Week in a number of districts by promoting child health and nutrition activities, with particular emphasis on exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life. Local drama groups also helped reinforce this messaging through sketches and songs performed during the education sessions.

The Libuyu clinic in the Southern Province holds awareness campaigns about exclusive breastfeeding that feature singing and dancing. (Thrive Project/Zambia)

Patricia Mfune (pictured below), a mother of four from the Livingston district of Zambia, attended her local World Breastfeeding Week events. She described how after exclusively breastfeeding her three other elder children for six months and continued breast feeding up to two years of age, her children have grown up experiencing minor illnesses, demonstrated high level of intelligence at pre-school, and look healthy as compared to her friends’ children who were not breastfeed exclusively. Currently breastfeeding her fourth child, Patricia encourages her fellow mothers to adhere to six months of exclusive breastfeeding and thereby help prevent illnesses that are associated with under-five children.

Patricia Mfune breastfeeds her two month-old child, Flavor. (Thrive Project/Zambia)

Background photo: Amy Fowler/USAID


Tajikistan celebrated the 2017 World Breastfeeding Week with the slogan “First 1,000 days of the Beginning of Life - Basis for the Development of the Nation”. USAID, through its Feed the Future Tajikistan National Health and Nutrition Activity (THNA), put on a series of events to educate on and promote optimal breastfeeding practices.

“I have been benefited from [the] THNA project for the past two years. THNA events are important and informative to me. Although I moved to another village, I ensured I participated in the breastfeeding event. I have learnt a lot of information which I will pass on to the women in my new village. I have learned all we should feed a child up until six months is only breastmilk. Usually, while mothers are eating they feel obligated to give some to their babies, now I know this is not good for the health of the child,” - Sailigul Iskandarova, resident of Mehrgon village, Jomi district

Through THNA, USAID supported events including educational sessions that highlighted key breastfeeding messages, quizzes, dances, songs, and poems for mothers. In addition, mothers in law and men were engaged during these events to encourage their support for mothers while breastfeeding through doing household chores and caring for the older children.

Mothers are taught about the components of breast milk through a demonstration using cow milk in a cup. (THNA/Tajikistan)

One of the key messages on breastfeeding was demonstrated using cow milk in a cup: milk when left in a cup for minutes will start to separate into water, fat and nutrients. This was further explained during exclusive breastfeeding, the first milk that comes out of the breast contains more water than the hind milk, which contains more fat and nutrients and fills the baby up.

Background Photo: THNA/Tajikistan

Learn more about USAID's maternal and child nutrition efforts here.

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