IFE Core Group
Version 2.0 May 2006
The Operational Guidance was first produced by the Interagency Working Group on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies in 2001. This Working Group included members of the Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IFE) Core Group, an inter-agency collaboration concerned with the development of training materials and related policy guidance on infant and young child feeding in emergencies. This updated version has been produced by current members of the IFE Core Group (UNICEF, WHO, UNHCR, WFP, IBFAN-GIFA, CARE USA, Fondation Terre des hommes (Tdh) and the Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN)), co-ordinated by the ENN. The IFE Core Group gratefully acknowledges all those who advised on and contributed to this revision.
This document assists with the practical application of the Guiding Principles for Feeding Infants and Young Children in Emergencies (WHO, (1)), the Policy and Strategy Statement on Infant Feeding in Emergencies (ENN, (2)), and the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions (3). It complies with the Sphere Project (4) and other international emergency standardsa. It is also a contribution that aims to assist decision-makers, planners and donors to meet their responsibilities set out in the UNICEF/WHO Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feedingb, in Article 24 of the Convention of the Rights of the Childc and the Call for Action contained in Innocenti Declaration 2005 on Infant and Young Child Feeding welcomed unanimously by the 2006 WHAd.
The aim of this document is to provide concise, practical (but non technical) guidance on how to ensure appropriate infant and young child feeding in emergencies. A number of elements are also applicable in non-emergency settings.
The Operational Guidance focuses especially on infants and young children under 2 years of age and their caregivers, recognising their particular vulnerability in emergencies.
It is intended for emergency relief staff and programme managers of all agencies working in emergency programmes, including national governments, United Nations (UN) agencies, national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and donors. It applies in emergency situations in all countries.
Beginning with a summary of key points, this document is organised into six sections of practical steps, with numbered references (Section 7) and definitions (Section 8) included at the end. Supporting information on how to implement the guidance is referenced throughout the document (1-26). Advocacy materials for the media and general public can be obtained in (2,6). The assessment and management of severely malnourished infants and young children are not addressed in this document (see (7) and (22b) for sources of this information).
The IFE Core Group encourages feedback on this document and its field implementation. In particular we wish to define and establish agency support for the Operational Guidance. Future prints will list supporting agencies.
If you or your agency would like to engage in this process, or have any feedback or comments you wish to share, contact the IFE Core Group c/o Emergency Nutrition Network, Leopold Street, Oxford, OX4 1TW, UK Tel: +44 (0)1865 324996, fax: +44 (0)1865 324997 email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.enonnline.net
Careful attention to infant feeding and support for good practice can save lives. Preserving breastfeeding, in particular, is important not just for the duration of any emergency, but may have lifelong impacts on child health and on women's future feeding decisions. Every group of people has customs and traditions about feeding infants and young children. It is important to understand these and work with them sensitively while promoting best practice.