Nutrition is accorded high priority in the World Bank’s strategy for the South Asia region. Appropriate infant and young child nutrition practices – and particularly breastfeeding – are crucial to achieving improvements in key sector indicators, such as the stunting and underweight rates. The Regional Assistance Strategy (RAS) for Nutrition notes the importance of breastfeeding in attaining improvements in the rates of malnutrition by including this percentage as an indicator of progress. Thus, this activity is well aligned with the RAS and the region’s strategic objectives for nutrition. Support for the World Breast Feeding Conference (WBC), 2012, and the South Asia action planning workshop following the WBC will provide the action framework for each country to further the IYCF global agenda, thus assisting in achieving Bank objectives related to nutrition for each country in the region. The analytical work, e.g., IYCF analytical report and the Scaling Up IYCF practices: What Will it Cost will provide cutting edge material for advocacy in the region.

The activity is also well aligned with the objectives of the SAFANSI program and its results contribute to all the three pillars of SAFANSI: Improved Evidence and Analysis on the most effective ways to achieve FNS outcomes in South Asia; Improved Awareness of FNS-related challenges, and advocacy for action, amongst relevant stakeholders; Strengthened regional and in-country policy and programming capacity in relevant areas to achieve FNS outcomes.

The Project Development Objective is to enhance government and stakeholder capacity and commitment in the South Asia Region to strengthen policies and programs for Infant and Young Child Feeding, particularly breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Promotion Network India (BPNI), the IBFAN/Asia Coordinator, proposes to use the IBFAN network to undertake, activities to enhance IYCF practices, particularly breastfeeding in South Asia (Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) with focused activities in four countries (Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal).