From 2008 to 2011, the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Infant & Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) Project supported the Ministry of Health and the National Food and Nutrition Commission to strengthen policies, programs, and health systems to improve the nutrition—and thereby prolong the lives—of mothers and their children younger than two years of age, including those affected by HIV. IYCN collaborated with a wide range of partners to support mothers in adopting healthy feeding practices and to ensure a better future for Zambian communities and families.

The project focused on strengthening nutrition interventions within prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programs and child health services and conducting supportive community-based activities. Health workers and community health volunteers in several districts developed the skills and knowledge to help mothers improve nutrition for themselves and their babies. Formative research on maternal nutrition and child feeding practices enabled stakeholders to understand beliefs and behaviors that contribute to poor nutrition. Structures are now in place for assessing the quality and consistency of health worker counseling. 


  • IYCN provided technical support to the Ministry of Health, the National Food and Nutrition Commission, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to create several essential tools and guidelines, including revised nutrition and HIV guidelines and a local foods recipe book.
  • IYCN supported a six-day training of more than 30 national trainers and built four teams of provincial-level trainers, who in turn trained more than 600 health workers, using the World Health Organization’s integrated infant and young child feeding course. With IYCN’s support, the provincial-level trainers provided ongoing mentoring of trainees and conducted more than 300 supervision visits.
  • The project supported the adaptation and testing of a United Nations Children’s Fund community training package designed to enable volunteers to reinforce messages from health workers and offer high-quality counseling for mothers in their communities. Nearly 200 trained volunteers assisted health workers with critical tasks such as conducting nutritional assessments, home visits, and cooking demonstrations.
  • IYCN launched a 13-part radio series to reach mothers across Zambia with targeted infant and young child feeding messages in five different languages.
  • According to more than 476 exit interviews conducted by IYCN after health talks and counseling sessions, the majority of mothers said they received beneficial messages about feeding from trained health workers.

Download a brief summarizing IYCN’s activities in Zambia.

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Photo: PATH/Christine Demmelmaier