The IYCN Project is the United States Agency for International Development’s flagship project on infant and young child nutrition. Begun in 2006, the five-year project aims to improve nutrition for mothers, infants, and young children, and prevent the transmission of HIV to infants and children. IYCN builds on 25 years of United States Agency for International Development leadership in maternal, infant, and young child nutrition. Our focus is on proven interventions that are effective during pregnancy and through the first two years of life.
The purpose of this manual is to provide step-by-step instructions to facilitate a half-day training workshop to improve the quality of group counseling sessions and health talks. Although providing individual counseling on infant and young child feeding is ideal, particularly within the context of HIV, it is often unrealistic due to the multiple demands placed on health workers. When conducting observations of health talks and group counseling at facilities, Infant & Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) Project staff repeatedly identified the need to improve their quality. Recognizing that health workers’ time is already limited, the workshop described in this manual requires only a few hours and includes content and practical exercises that focus on key changes health workers can make to ensure their health talks are more effective. The learning activities in this manual provide information and practical exercises on adult learning principles, communication and facilitation skills, and planning. This manual can be used with facility or community-based staff who provide group counseling, facilitate health talks, or lead support groups.