Malnutrition still affects millions of infants and young children globally but can be prevented by increasing rates of exclusive breastfeeding and by ensuring the nutritious quality of a child’s meals (that is, food other than breast milk or infant formula) between 6 and 24 months of age. Alive & Thrive is a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation–funded initiative managed by FHI360, in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), BRAC, Save the Children, the University of California-Davis, World Vision, and GMMB. The program aims to combat global child undernutrition and strengthen the promotion of and support for appropriate infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Viet Nam, recently expanding operations to Burkina Faso, India, and Nigeria. IFPRI’s role in Alive & Thrive is to evaluate the impact of IYCF interventions and provide insights into how the interventions achieved impact and scale.
RESULTS AND OUTCOMES
- In Bangladesh, the Alive & Thrive initiative, implemented primarily by BRAC in partnership with the Institute of Public Health Nutrition, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and other stakeholders, reached 1.7 million mothers of children under two with information on IYCF. In addition, Alive & Thrive supported the adoption and implementation of a unified, national IYCF communication strategy in Bangladesh.
- IFPRI’s evaluation of the impacts of Alive & Thrive during the first phase of implementation from 2009– 2014 in Bangladesh demonstrated that the initiative achieved rapid improvements in breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices. Exclusive breastfeeding increased from 48 to 88 percent and the proportion of children achieving minimum dietary diversity increased from 32 to 64 percent in intensive program areas.
- IFPRI’s research and development of implementation and capacity-building tools contributed to the program’s credibility in Bangladesh and beyond. IFPRI’s research results also influenced other nutritional programs and donors’ funding decisions in Bangladesh. For example, USAID’s Feed the Future sites and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID)–funded nutrition and poverty reduction programs modeled their IYCF behavior change communication programs on Alive & Thrive. Moreover, additional funding was provided by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation to continue to scale up counseling interventions for IYCF and by the Government of Canada for maternal nutrition counseling.
For more information on IFPRI's research and partnerships in Bangladesh, please go to this brochure.