A unique window of opportunity exists to positively shape a child’s future. Good nutrition in the first 1,000 days, from conception to two years of age, is critical to prevent child deaths and promote healthy growth and brain development. Through implementation of the Alive & Thrive (A&T) initiative, FHI 360 is scaling up nutrition to save lives, prevent illness and promote healthy growth and development through improved breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices. A&T’s comprehensive, integrated framework for achieving scale consists of four main components: advocacy, interpersonal communication and community mobilization, mass communication and strategic use of data.
In its first five years (2009 to 2014), A&T demonstrated that a comprehensive approach to improve feeding practices could be delivered with impact and at scale in three contexts: Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Vietnam. In these three countries, the project reached more than 11 million mothers of children under two years of age within the first three years of implementation through interpersonal communication and mass media. Results indicate that it is possible to significantly improve infant feeding practices. For example, exclusive breastfeeding rates in Vietnam increased from 19 percent to 58 percent over four years — almost tripling in intervention areas.
A&T is now supporting others to scale up nutrition by applying and adapting tested, proven approaches and tools in contexts such as Burkina Faso, India and Southeast Asia. With its emphasis on learning and innovation, A&T is expanding its focus in Bangladesh to maternal nutrition and taking a more multisectoral approach in Ethiopia. In August 2017, the initiative received a new investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue its work in strengthening maternal, infant and young child nutrition programming around the world.
Alive & Thrive is currently active in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Southeast Asia and Vietnam.