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Alive & Thrive

Bogra, Bangladesh,
Photo by Shafiqul Alam Kiron
“Little Sun” franchise facilities
in Viet Nam
Photos by Alive & Thrive
Coordinating Organisation FHI 360, USA
Organisers/Type of Organisation Non-profit development organisation
Initiative Type Advocacy, education, program implementation, and knowledge partnerships around infant and young child feeding (IYCF) and maternal nutrition.
Field of Science Involved Maternal, infant and young child nutrition
Target Audience(s) Primary audience: Program designers and implementers, policymakers, and other stakeholders who impact large scale social and behaviour change programs that address maternal, infant and young child nutrition.
Secondary audiences: Frontline and community health workers, other health staff and influencers, community influencers, and family members.
Ultimate beneficiaries: pregnant mothers, new mothers, infants, and young children.
Reach Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Philippines)

Main Objectives

To save lives, prevent illness, and ensure healthy growth and development through optimal maternal nutrition, breastfeeding and child feeding practices. Good nutrition in the first 1,000 days, from conception to two years of age, is critical to enable all children to lead healthier and more productive lives.

Description of work

Alive & Thrive (A&T) developed a four component approach to guide its work in large-scale IYCF programs. These components include:

1.     Advocacy

Alive & Thrive’s advocacy work is tailored to the particular needs of each country and involves educating and engaging with policymakers and other key influencers. Advocacy messages and approaches are evidence-based and activities take place at both the national and sub-national level. For further details, see the advocacy program brief.

2.     Interpersonal communication (IPC) and community mobilization

Interpersonal communication enables frontline workers to personalize messages, interact effectively, and provide encouragement during home visits, support group meetings, and sessions at health centers. Frontline workers help mothers and family members directly with context-specific advice and support, and gather support for their work from community leaders through orientation and training activities. Community mobilization orients community leaders and foster commitment, and results in actions in support of improved mother and child feeding practices. For further details, see the IPC and community mobilization program brief.

3.     Mass communication

Mass communication uses available channels to reach large numbers of people with persuasive, consistent messages. When done well and adequately funded, it can change beliefs, shift perceptions of social norms, increase self-efficacy, and prompt behavior change. Alive & Thrive uses a variety of communication channels to ensure their messages about mother and child nutrition are visible. These includes TV, radio, posters, billboards, and digital content. For further details, see the mass communication program brief.

4.     Strategic use of data

Strategic use of data informs program design, shapes advocacy messages, and improves program implementation and management on an ongoing basis. Data is collected throughout Alive & Thrive’s design and implementation, and is used to develop and refine evidence-based activities and messaging. For further details, see the strategic use of data program brief.


Detailed results from Alive & Thrive’s first five years of implementation (2009-2014) are described on a sub-page of the project’s website: Additional results and learnings from its four components can also be found in specific component briefs:

1.     Advocacy

Advocacy activities by Alive & Thrive have contributed to policy change (e.g. increased paid maternity leave and an extended ban on advertising of breastmilk substitutes in Viet Nam), increased funding for IYCF in Viet Nam and Bangladesh, and increased prioritization of IYCF in Ethiopia.

2.     Interpersonal communication (IPC) and community mobilization

Alive & Thrive’s IPC work has contributed to dramatic changes in feeding habits, especially where interpersonal communication and community mobilization were implemented along with mass communication. By 2014 in Bangladesh, for example, A&T-inspired interpersonal communication was delivered in 222 subdistricts, where 4.8 million children under age 2 live (60% of the country’s target group).

3.     Mass communication

Alive & Thrive used mass communication to reach over 10 million families with children under 2 years in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Viet Nam. The appealing media messages touched millions more who could support mothers’ behaviors, including fathers, grandmothers, health workers, doctors, and decision makers, with common, tested messages delivered in a consistent manner. Mass communication campaigns lent credibility to frontline workers’ messages, making mothers more open to their support. Preliminary findings from A&T’s successful mass communication campaign in Viet Nam are described in the brief.

4.     Strategic use of data

Data collected, analysed and used throughout the entire program cycle enables effective and efficient program design, shapes advocacy messages, and improves program implementation and management. 

Resources used or generated

Alive & Thrive values sharing of resources and tools, and has widely disseminated results, guidance and program tools, including via its website. A&T’s “toolbox” guides and inform program design and implementation: Other resources, including briefs, reports, training materials, and more can be found on the main resource page:

Contact Details
Principal Contact Karin Lapping
Address 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite S680, Washington, DC 20009-5721 United States of America
e-mail aliveandthrive
Social Media Facebook
Twitter - @aliveandthrive
Other partner details Alive & Thrive is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the governments of Canada and Ireland, and managed by FHI 360

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