14 July 2017

Global Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative (UNICEF/WHO)


The Global Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative is comprised of 1000 Days, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, Action Against Hunger, Alive and Thrive, A Promise Renewed, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, Concern Worldwide, Helen Keller International, International Baby Food Action Network, the International Lactation Consultant Association, the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation, Save the Children, USAID, the World Alliance of Breastfeeding Action, and World Vision, led by UNICEF and WHO, with financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This commitment is in support of the Global Strategy (2016-2030).

We commit to increasing awareness about breastfeeding and advocating for increased political commitment to and investment for breastfeeding programmes and supportive policies.  Our advocacy efforts will be focused on accelerating progress towards reaching or exceeding the World Health Assembly global target, calling on governments to support increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates for children under six months of age to at least 50 percent by 2025.  Advocacy efforts will also aim to increase early initiation of breastfeeding for newborns.  From 2015-18 we will foster leadership and alliances and effectively integrate and communicate breastfeeding messages; mobilize resources and promote accountability and build knowledge and evidence to enhance breastfeeding policies, programmes, financing and communication.

Commitment Progress

UNICEF (through the U.S. Fund) hired Berlin Rosen, a prominent strategic communications firm, to develop an innovative communication strategy to reach, engage with, and mobilize target audiences (governments, policymakers, donors, and international decision makers) to encourage greater political commitment and financial investment in breastfeeding. The communications strategy, to be used by UNICEF and all members of the Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative (BAI), has been successfully completed. The strategic communication plan is comprehensive and comprises several components, including a messaging framework that provides a basis for how BAI partners, spokespersons, and other stakeholders will talk about breastfeeding and the need to increase political and financial support in the most compelling way possible to influence key audiences. The messaging framework is key a component of the communications strategy and was informed by audience research undertaken by the in China, Nigeria, India, Mexico, U.S. and UK (approximately 2400 people in total) to understand perceptions of and barriers to breastfeeding in those countries; and to get a sense of which messages, messengers and frameworks will most likely move influencers to invest in and prioritize increasing breastfeeding rates in their countries. The messaging framework has been adopted by the BAI and messages have been reflected in op-eds and other media, talking points and in advocacy briefs.
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