Tackling gender equity, one nutrition TV spot at a time

By Ann Jimerson, Behavior Change Specialist, Alive & Thrive

As the clock ticks to mark the first hour of the baby’s life, a young mother raises her hand to contradict her mother-in-law, who wants to give the baby honey instead of breastmilk. It’s one of my favorite TV spots from Alive & Thrive’s (A&T) program in Bangladesh. Every time I view this TV spot, I feel a surge of emotion when the young mother firmly says, “No, give her to me. I have to breastfeed.”

bangladesh 1

This young mother surprised viewers by taking control of her baby’s first hour of life.

So it caught me off guard when a participant in the recent SUN Movement Global Gathering questioned the program planners’ decision to portray this young mother standing up to the authority of elders. “Why did you show the mother that way? It’s completely unrealistic. That would never happen,” the participant said.

Continue reading

Breastfeeding: Working to make it work

Ellen Piwoz, Senior Program Officer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Originally posted on Devex

The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2015 is “Let’s make it work!”—focusing on supporting working women that breastfeed. The reality is that all women work, whether in the home or in an office, factory, or field. The question then is: What do we need to do to make breastfeeding work for women and their children, no matter where they live or what they do?

An important first step is ensuring that women have the accurate information needed to make feeding choices for their children. Just last week, a National Institutes of Health study found that 20 percent of new moms in the United States did not receive any breastfeeding guidance from their doctors. The World Health Organization recommends initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth and breastfeeding exclusively — no water, nor anything else — for the first six months.

To read the full text, please visit: Breast-feeding: Working to make it work

Remembering Luann Martin: Promoting breastfeeding for 25 years


In memory of our friend, colleague, and long-time advocate for infant and young child feeding, Luann Martin, we are sharing a personal story that she wrote last year at this time. Luann recently passed away on July 14, 2015.

luann for webLuann and I met in 1994 in Washington, DC. We had both recently returned from living overseas and soon discovered we had much in common. From that time on, we worked together for the next 20 years. Most recently, I had the pleasure of working with her on Alive & Thrive, from the beginning in 2009 until December 2014 when she retired.

Luann cared deeply about improving the lives of women and children and her work touched the lives of millions of children and their families around the world.

In celebration of Luann’s legacy and in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, here is her story. We welcome you to share memories of Luann in the comments of this blog post.

Originally published during World Breastfeeding Week 2014.

Continue reading

In Ethiopia, rapid improvements in child feeding behaviors are possible

Dr. Manisha tharaney, senior technical advisor, nutrition, ALIVE & THRIVE



Alive & Thrive recently released results from its first five years in Ethiopia, where infant and young child feeding programs reached an estimated two million mothers of children under two. As in Bangladesh and Viet Nam, we found that a comprehensive approach led to rapid improvements in feeding practices.

The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding—already at high levels—increased to more than 80 percent in program areas. We also saw promising gains in complementary feeding practices. More children started receiving appropriate complementary foods at around six months of age and the percentage of children eating a diverse diet, while still extremely low, doubled in just four years.

Continue reading

Scaling up nutrition works: Three strategies for success

JEAN BAKER, project director, ALIVE & THRIVEFHI 360

Can interventions be delivered at scale to improve nutrition during a child’s critical first two years? That is the question we set out to answer more than six years ago. And now the evidence is in—rapid, large scale increases in infant and young child feeding practices are feasible.

Continue reading

How to reach “masses” when mass media are not available? Follow the money!

Ann JimersonTina Sanghvi, and Silvia AlayónALIVE & THRIVE

Quick. I say “mass media campaign” and you name the “media” that come to mind: _____.

Not so long ago, you would likely have answered “TV and radio.” With “new media” abounding, broadcast TV and radio are now relegated to “traditional media.” But what about when technology—even electricity—lags. What does “mass media” mean then?

Continue reading

An intriguing message: Where did it come from and why does it work?


I wasn’t joking when I told Mary Penny and Hilary Creed-Kanashiro that the Skype call we had recently fulfilled a fantasy for me. For some time, I’ve been fascinated with a study they and their Peruvian colleagues were part of about 10 years ago. And now I’d been granted my wish to ask my questions. Continue reading