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Religious leader engagement with MIYCN

This question was posted the Infant and young child feeding interventions forum area and has 9 replies.

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Brooke Bauer, Global Nutrition Cluster Technical Alliance

MIYCNE and Gender Advisor GNC Technical Alliance

Normal user

17 May 2022, 15:21

Dear Colleagues,

I am looking for experiences of interventions or programmes that involved religious leaders as a core component.  Specifically, I am interested in learning about models where MIYCN/IYCF messages were included in sermons or khutabh or where support groups were lead by or in part by religious leaders.  

I am also curious to know about any models where the religious leader's wife was also involved to give messages to women.  In a way similar to a peer support group model where the lead is trained in IYCF counselling and communication where the lead is the religious leader for the group for the men and the religious leader's wife for support, leading meetings, and providing counselling and messaging for women.

Any inisght into models similar to this or case studies would be very much appreciated.

Thank you very much.

GNC Technical Alliance Leadership Team

Normal user

17 May 2022, 17:31

Hi Brooke, 

World Vision has a model "Channels of Hope" Which is used to engage Faith/Religious leaders to support behavior changes. There is an exciting model on Maternal, newborn, and child health that might cover some IYCF messaging. 

Channels of Hope for Maternal Newborn and Child Health | Faith and Development | World Vision International (

If you would like I can also ask this question within PaRD Health workstream and see if any of the FBO have resources or case studies they could share. Just let me know! 


Brooke Bauer, Global Nutrition Cluster Technical Alliance

MIYCNE and Gender Advisor GNC Technical Alliance

Normal user

17 May 2022, 17:38

Thanks, Justine. I will have a look at the document. 

It would be great if you could reach out and ask. We are exploring some options for Afghanistan and wanted to see what models are out there that have worked well or didn't if that's the case as well.  Thanks so much!

Everlyn Matiri

Catholic Relief Services

Normal user

18 May 2022, 05:45

CRS SCORE-ECD multicountry project, which stands for Strengthening the Capacity of Women Religious in Early Childhood Development, strengthens the capacity of Catholic Sisters, through their congregations, who help families to understand the importance of nutrition and feeding, and communicating early and effectively with their children - Raising the Score in Early Childhood Development | CRSThe SCORE ECD Project – ACWECA

We have other models engaging directly with the religious leaders on MIYCN but i realise the materials and links to the documents are not available. 

Muhammad Jaffar Ali MSNC PnD Punjab Pakistan

Sector Specialist

Normal user

18 May 2022, 05:46

Dear Colleagues,

In Punjab Pakistan Multi Sectoral Nutrition Center ( is implementing Multi Sectoral Nutrition Strategy. MSNC have oriented Govt. Institutions on Nutrition Sensitive and Specific interventions and they have applied nutrition lens to the Annual  Development Budgeting. MSNC has a strong Nutrtion Governance i.e District,Tehsil and Union Council Malnutrition Addressing Committee are playing pivotal role to engage Govt. Departments to fullfil KPIs committments.

We have developed IEC Material and trained Ulema and Khateebs to deliever Khutba during Jumma Sermons. Multi Sectoral Nutrition Center engaged Religious and Auqaf Dept to raise awareness of the masses attending Juma prayers.

If needs further information plz do inbox @


Brooke Bauer, Global Nutrition Cluster Technical Alliance

MIYCNE and Gender Advisor GNC Technical Alliance

Normal user

18 May 2022, 06:00

This is all great.  Thank you very much, Everlyn and Muhammad.

Everlyn, I am having a look at the links you sent now.  Thanks for sharing.  If you have offline examples that are available I would love to see those as well.  If you would like, my email is

Muhammad, thank you also for your examples.  I will send you an email now.

Have a great day.

Anonymous 40990

Regional Nutrition Advisor Asia and South America

Normal user

18 May 2022, 06:53

WHH Afghanistan has a number of interventions involving religious leaders as a core component for their MIYCF/IYCF. We also have published an article about this work on the Field Exchange

Ali Maclaine


Normal user

18 May 2022, 10:13

Hi, I don't know if useful but about 10 years ago I did some research in Afghanistan looking at infant and young child feeding practices, including where mothers got their information and support on breastfeeding. Interesting that religious leaders were their number 1 source of information. When asked how they, as women, would talk to the Mullah about their problem they said that they would talk to their husbands and they would speak to the Mullah and report back. In terms of what information the Mullah gave it tended to be that the mothers were given a Taweez (sorry about spelling as I am sure that is wrong - basically as I understand them it is religious words written on a piece of paper and sewn into clothes or kept on a necklace). The mothers said that it worked too. 
I was only there for a short while but on these findings recommended that Save the Children looked to see how to give the Mullahs some basic breastfeeding information that they could relay to the husbands / mothers. I didn't think of the Mullah's wives, but that could indeed be good if possible I would have thought. 
Get in touch if you would like me to find the research report.

Syed Saeed Qadir

Nutrition Specialist UNICEF

Normal user

18 May 2022, 10:29

I believe involvement of RL , Imams etc is moreover influence the community on breastfeeding as a right of child in their Juma sermons and community engagement .

Lwiindi Madabwali

Program Officer - Nutrition (CHAI)

Normal user

18 May 2022, 12:03

I have never been exposed to a model that has used Religious approach in implementing MAIYCN Interventions, though from experience, I think it would be a good approach especially in influencing feeding practices in populations with strong cultural beliefs and other traditional practices that have been a hindrance in improving MAIYCN practices despite much capacity building done to health workers and the community. really learn from responses provided.

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