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Designing communication on child feeding in Bangladesh

Alive & Thrive (A&T) is an initiative to improve infant and young child feeding practices by increasing rates of exclusive breastfeeding and improving complementary feeding practices. A&T developed a national health communication strategy and shared the three phases in their design and testing process in a great online training module that includes engaging and instructional videos.

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I love Alive and Thrive's sharing of their entire research process for how they devised a national health communication strategy for Bangladesh.  Their methodology could easily be leveraged to test out other concepts or ideas for new programs in different regions or to address a different community health challenge.

Alive and Thrive had two key objectives:
  1. Raise awareness of the importance of good feeding practices and their contribution to child survival, healthy growth, brain development, and the economic and social development of the family and the community
  2. Seek the commitment of influential members of the community to endorse recommended breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices and take specific actions in support of these practices
The videos walk through how Alive and Thrive went through three phases of research to try to meet their objectives.

Phase 1: Building a Strategy
  • Alive and Thrive (A&T) did research to identify what organizations, companies, and governmental offices were already focused on solving issues of nutrition in Bangladesh
  • A&T then held workshops with the groups already working in nutrition to learn what they were working on and the research that had been conducted or was being conducted
  • A&T looked for gaps in research to see where there was a need for further research to help meet their primary goals
  • Conduct research to identify what people really do and what motivates their behaviors
  • Step 3: Agree on key practices to promote
  1. Timely initiation of breastfeeding (immediately or within one hour after delivery) and no pre/post lacteals such as water, other liquids, and ritual foods  
  2. Exclusive breastfeeding (breastmilk only) from birth through 6 months (180 days)  
  3. Quantity and quality of complementary foods and appropriate feeding practices, ensuring quality through adequate density of energy and nutrients, use of diverse types of foods, especially animal foods, and micronutrient supplementation
  4. Handwashing with soap and water by the caregiver before preparing food and feeding children under two years of age and washing the child’s hands to reduce pathogens in complementary foods 

Phase 2: Concept testing:
1.Step 1: Selection of themes to test
2.Step 2: Develop concepts
3.Step 3: Create concept cards
4.Step 4: Test concept cards with primary and secondary audiences

Phase 3: Pretesting:
After concept testing, the Alive and Thrive team used methods to pretest TV commercials, which ensured that audience members found the spots appealing and understood the messages

1.Step 1: Hire a research firm
2.Step 2: Create storyboards and “stilomatics”
3.Step 3: Develop a research plan and interview guide
4.Step 4: Conduct pretest
5.Step 5: Analyze the findings
6.Step 6: Fine tune the spots



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Photo of Glynis Clacherty

... and found Alive & Thrive's great material on involving fathers ...

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