IYCF Advocacy – South Africa

2022 Advocacy FLRF

In 2022, FLRF began adapting the policy operationalization approach to plan an anti-formula advocacy campaign in South Africa in collaboration with civil society and academic organizations – the Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) Advocacy Project.

The project aims to protect, promote and support breastfeeding by creating an environment where women’s breastfeeding choices are not influenced by unethical, inappropriate marketing of infant formula. The work is guided by a technical advisory group.

Phase one was co-hosted by the University of the Western Cape, the University of Pretoria and the Department of Science and Technology at the National Research Centre of Excellence in Food Security (DSI-NRF CoE-FS) and led by Dr. Chantell Witten, Researcher, DSI-NRF CoE-FS. The partners established the national situation and developed a strategy for an advocacy and engagement approach to diminish the undue influence of commercial infant formula companies. 

Phase two is taking place in collaboration with the Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA), a non-profit specialized in food and policy advocacy in South Africa under the leadership of Angelika Grimbeek, Policy and Programme Manager. The partners are focusing on operationalization – developing key campaign messaging and a dissemination strategy that will be used to plan a multi-year advocacy campaign anticipated for launch in 2025 after further fundraising. Next, they will test the messages and finalize the communication materials.

The partners also plan to produce a playbook detailing how to apply a systematic approach that yields a country-focused campaign, optimized for a specific national environment. 

The IYCF Advocacy Project is aligned with the strategic initiative of the World Health Organization to help countries strengthen legislation that counters the aggressive formula milk marketing outlined in the 2022 WHO and UNICEF report: How the marketing of formula milk influences our decisions on infant feeding.  

Rippenaar-Moses L. CoE-FS, UWC academics step up to the formula industry’s marketing tactics [Internet]. Centre of Excellence in Food Security. 2022 [cited 12 September 2022]. Available from: https://foodsecurity.ac.za/news/coe-fs-uwc-academics-step-up-to-the-formula-industrys-marketing-tactics/

Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy Week [Internet]. Anh-academy.org. 2022 [cited 12 September 2022]. Available from: https://www.anh-academy.org/academy-week/2022

Pikoli Z. Children’s rights to nutrition must be put at the centre of food systems, conference is told. Daily Maverick [Internet]. 2022 [cited 12 September 2022];. Available from: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-06-29-childrens-rights-to-nutrition-must-be-put-at-the-centre-of-food-systems-conference-is-told/

Rippenaar-Moses L. Even with progressive policies, SA’s children still going hungry [Internet]. Centre of Excellence in Food Security. 2022 [cited 12 September 2022]. Available from: https://foodsecurity.ac.za/news/even-with-progressive-policies-sas-children-still-going-hungry/

Witten C, Sayed N. Busting the myths about the benefits of infant milk formula. Daily Maverick [Internet]. 2022 [cited 12 September 2022];. Available from: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-07-31-busting-the-myths-about-the-benefits-of-infant-milk-formula/

Baby formula industry switches to new tactics to lure mothers away from breast-feeding [Internet]. IOL. 2022 [cited 12 September 2022]. Available from: https://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/news/baby-formula-industry-switches-to-new-tactics-to-lure-mothers-away-from-breast-feeding-ec12282e-5416-4eb2-9e05-7664d6bcb511

Strengthening resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent. Presentation presented at; 31 May 2022; DST/NRFR Webinar.