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Opinion Leader Research on Infant and Young Child Feeding in 6 ASEAN countries

Alive & Thrive (A&T) is an initiative to save lives, prevent illness, and ensure healthy growth and development. Good nutrition in the first 1,000 days, from conception to two years of age, is critical to enable all children to lead healthier and more productive lives. Alive & Thrive is scaling up improved infant and young child feeding and maternal nutrition through large-scale programs in several countries in Asia and Africa and through strategic technical support and the dissemination of innovations, tools, and lessons worldwide. Alive & Thrive is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the governments of Canada and Ireland. The initiative is managed by FHI 360.

In April 2013, Alive & Thrive Vietnam in coordination with the Viet Nam National Assembly’s Institute of Legislative Studies, Irish Aid and UNICEF, and with technical support from the European Union, the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), the International Code Documentation Centre (ICDC), and the World Health Organization, organized a regional advocacy workshop, titled “Developing Stronger Policies and Laws on Infant and Young Child Feeding in the ASEAN Region and Beyond”.  Delegations from 13 countries convened in Hanoi for to learn about the process that led to Viet Nam’s two major policy change successes: extending maternity leave to six months and expanding the ban on advertising of breast milk substitutes for children under 24 months. 

As a follow-up to the workshop in 2013, Alive & Thrive was able to secure additional funding to provide strategic technical assistance to 7 countries, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Myanmar, Thailand, Timor Leste and Viet Nam. Alive & Thrive will work in close collaboration with UNICEF and Save the Children in each of these countries to sstrengthen the regional and national policy environment(s) for IYCF with particular emphasis on National Codes, Maternity Entitlements and Health Systems Strengthening. The main support of Alive & Thrive to these countries is to assist them with discrete pieces of research, development of advocacy tools and products, etc.

An important first step in the process was to convene the seven countries in Bangkok, Thailand in March 2014 to develop country-specific roadmaps to enable policy change at national and regional levels. The roadmaps were built around the policy change process developed out of the Viet Nam country experience. Country teams completed detailed national policy assessments in advance of the workshop, identified key policy priorities for a three year period and developed roadmaps to achieve policy goals.

This Request for Proposals is to identify and contract with an organization/s that are able to undertake opinion leader research in the six identified countries as follows:

To better understand barriers and opportunities to build greater political support for IYCF policies and programs at national and regional level, A&T will undertake opinion leader research in six countries (namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Myanmar, Thailand and Timor Leste). The research will involve or individual interviews among policy makers and community leaders at and group discussions where appropriate.  To conduct the research, we seek experienced researchers/research firms to recruit targeted participants, develop and test discussion guides and recording formats, conduct individual interviews and group discussions in multiple locations, and provide a written analysis of each interview and group discussion.

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