Current Project

MIYCN- BFCI Rural Project

Program: Health and Systems for Health

The Division of Nutrition (DoN) in the Ministy of Health, Kenya, developed a national strategy to promote optimal Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) practices in 2007, actualized mainly through the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in maternity wards. This initiative has proven effective in promoting optimal breastfeeding practices, particularly in the high income countries. However, this strategy only reaches a few women as many women, especially the poor, deliver at home. Further, MIYCN practices are greatly influenced by traditional beliefs and practices and hence the impact of BFHI is limited. There is, therefore, need to transfer the benefits of the BFHI to the community level where most women deliver. Implementation of the Baby Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) may be a solution in the Kenyan situation.

Baby Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI), a strategy that employs the principles of BFHI at the community level is proposed in Kenya. Hard evidence on the effectiveness of the BFCI program and how it would work best in the Kenyan context are needed to create the political buy in, inform budgetary allocation and effective implementation of the pogram at the national level.

MIYCN-BFCI  Rural is a pilot implementation of BFCI to determine its feasibility and effectiveness with regards to maternal and child nutrition and health status in a rural setting in Koibatek sub County, Baringo County. This three year study is implemented by Kenyatta University together with APHRC in collaboration with the Unit of Nutrition and Dietetics, Ministry of Health and MCSP.

The main objective of the study is to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of the Baby Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) with regards to child nutrition and health status in Koibatek sub-County, Baringo County, Kenya. Specifically, the study aims to:

  • Identify the contextual and cultural factors that influence breastfeeding and other maternal, infant and young child feeding practices in order to tailor the intervention package to the communities and
  • Identify the enabling factors and barriers that may influence the implementation of the BCFI.

It is expected that the findings of this study will inform effective scale-up of the BFCI in Kenya, which in turn is anticipated to improve child health and survival.



  • Kenyatta University – Lead
  • MCSP
  • University of Southampton, UK
  • Loughborough University, UK
  • Brown University, USA
  • Unit of Nutrition and Ditetics, Ministry of Health
  • Unit of Community Health Services, Ministry of Health


  • Professor Judith Kimiywe – Principal Investigator
  • Prof. Steve T. McGarvey, Brown University
  • Ms. Evelyn Matiri, PATH & MCSP
  • Dr. Mark Kabue, Jhpiego & MCSP
  • Ms. Betty Samburu, Unit of Nutrition and Dietetics, Ministry of Health
  • Prof. Nyovani Madise, University of Southampton
  • Dr. Paula Griffiths, Loughborough University


January 2014 – April 2017

Project Funders

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