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Conducting an Infant and Young Child Feeding Support Group Meeting in Nigeria

This two-page job aid helps community volunteers in Nigeria conduct community infant and young child feeding (C-IYCF) support groups after they receive their training on IYCF.

Task:Conducting a community infant and young child feeding (C-IYCF) support group
Completed by:IYCF support group facilitator
Purpose:To conduct an IYCF support group meeting after completing IYCF training
When to perform:Monthly (or more frequently, but regularly)
Materials needed:IYCF counseling cards, C-IYCF counseling register, C-IYCF support group member register
1.Two weeks or more before the meeting, identify and invite new mothers and other community members to the meeting. Clearly state the time and place to meet.

Encourage all past training participants, and anyone who is interested, to attend.

If possible, encourage regular participation, and hold the meeting at the same time and place.

Groups larger than 12 participants should ideally be split into two groups.

2.Before the meeting, prepare the topic or theme selected at the last meeting. Review the key message booklet and/or training materials.Prepare more than one theme or topic. For example, if mostly pregnant women attend, talk about breastfeeding. If mostly breastfeeding women attend, talk about complementary feeding.
3.Arrive early. Arrange the seats in a circle so all participants will feel included.If possible, ask someone to watch the older children during the meeting.
4.More than 12 people arrive for the meeting.If more than 12 participants attend a meeting, welcome everyone. But, as soon as a new facilitator is trained, divide participants into groups of 12 or fewer.
5.Greet each person as they arrive. Introduce yourself. Ask their name and their children's names. Invite them to find a comfortable seat. 
6.When everyone is seated, welcome them, including the children. Repeat your name. Ask your supervisor to introduce herself/himself.Remind everyone why this group is meeting and that any community member is welcome to attend.
7.Sit in a circle. Ask everyone to introduce themselves and their children.Sitting in a circle will allow the facilitator to have eye contact with all participants and make everyone feel included and comfortable.
8.Remind participants that they must not repeat or discuss anything confidential said during the meeting.Remind participants that everyone can speak honestly.
9.Show the group the counseling card or other image related to the topic/theme for the session.If the image is not clear, briefly describe the topic.
10.Ask the group if this topic is acceptable. If the topic is acceptable, go to the next step. If the topic is not acceptable, ask the group what topic they want to discuss.Confirm that the topic is acceptable for most participants. If you are comfortable with the topic, continue the session; otherwise, tell the group you will discuss that topic at the next

Ask the group questions to encourage a discussion about the topic.

  • Does anyone know someone who does this?
  • Why do you think they do this?
  • Does anyone want to share an experience?
  • Does anyone want to share a different experience?
  • What do you think “so and so” would say if you decided to do “such and such”?
  • What advantage does this practice have for the child/mother/family?
  • What difficulties have you had in this situation?
  • Were you able to resolve the difficulties? How? Why not?

Remember to use the “Listening and Learning and Building Confidence and Giving Support” skills from your training manual such as:

  • Look at each participant while they talk.
  • Make sure participants’ doubts, concerns, and questions are understood by repeating what they said.
  • Ask one participant to respond.
  • Share your experience to encourage others to talk, but be brief.
  • Encourage others to participate, especially if they are quiet and if appropriate. Remind more vocal participants that everyone should have a chance to participate.

During the session:

  • Tell participants where they can receive additional support.
  • Give advice only when asked.
  • Summarize ideas during the session.
  • Keep the group focused on the theme.
  • Note any outstanding questions or issues. Say you will ask an expert for this information.
If there are any outstanding questions or issues, seek clarifications from your supervisor or an expert. Be sure to address these questions and issues as soon as possible or at the next meeting

At the end of the meeting:

  • Thank everyone for attending and actively participating.
  • Ask them to practice some of the behaviors they learned about before the next meeting.
  • Ask them to talk to a pregnant woman, a breastfeeding mother, or a father and invite them to the next meeting.
  • Ask them to suggest a topic for the next meeting.
  • Set a date, time, and venue for the next meeting.
  • Remind anyone who has not signed the register to sign.
14.Ask anyone who wants individual counseling to remain behind.If he/she cannot stay, plan when you will meet them later.
15.Complete the documentation for the completed session.
  • C-IYCF one-on-one counseling register
  • C-IYCF support group member register.

Task is complete when—

  • The meeting has ended.
  • Participants asking for one-on-one counseling have been counseled or make an appointment for counseling.
  • The documentation for the session is complete and submitted to the support group supervisor at the nearest health facility.