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WBW 2009 Virtual Breastfeeding Shield Event Pledge

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The World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is the greatest outreach vehicle for the breastfeeding movement, being celebrated in over 120 countries. Officially it is celebrated from 1-7 August. However, groups may choose other dates to make it a more successful event in their countries.

Sharing your wonderful work will show linkage and solidarity with the global WBW campaign. Send your reports, materials you have produced, photos and we will create a webpage for you which you can use to further promote your WBW activities to wbw@waba.org.my

SPONSORSHIP: We do not accept sponsorship of any kind from companies producing breastmilk substitutes, related equipment and complementary foods. We encourage all participants of World Breastfeeding Week to respect and follow this ethical stance.


World Breastfeeding Week 2009 1-7 August 2009

WBW around the World

By James Achanyi-Fontem, IBFAN Cameroon Link Group Focal Point

A wide range of resource persons contribute ideas, experiences, technical, material and financial in puts for the success of activities and achievement of IYCF Global Goals. It is for this reason that Cameroon Link action plan touches on varied issues as activities unfold with new strategies applied for greater population out reach each year.

Breastfeeding Mothers during
Infant Feeding Counselling in Bonaberi-Douala.

The main areas covered include: Breastfeeding protection, promotion and support, Training on the International Code and Monitoring with emphasis on the application of the Cameroon Code regulations, Advocacy campaign for maternal and child protection with involvement of men and youth, Training on breastfeeding counselling for BFHI and BFCI promotion, Animation of Youth for Breastfeeding Promotion Clubs in colleges, Mapping out of Men's Initiative Groups, Gender and HIV campaign for mainstreaming of activity, translation of World Breastfeeding Week materials into Cameroon local languages for use in community radio stations; capacity development with participation in WABA and IBFAN policy in relation to decision making process. Thanks and gratitude go to WABA, IBFAN Africa, Cameroon Ministry of Public Health, UNICEF and Commonwealth Professional Awards Commission that have been instrumental in giving Cameroon Link a lift in support in various ways.


  • Populations of the pilot Health Districts in all regions of Cameroon turned out in great numbers to show their concern about the promotion of infant and young child feeding and advocacy for maternal protection during the World Breastfeeding Week.

  • Experimentation of new IEC and Social Mobilisation strategies through breastfeeding promotion exhibitions were a great success during mass events. Materials from WABA and IBFAN Africa were distributed for out reach activities by community health workers.

  • Training on information strategies and community education for mother support in enterprises was triggered in Cameroon with directors of enterprises showing concern. The MTN telecommunication economic operator sent out the World Breastfeeding Week theme received from WABA to all their 2.000.000 business subscribers.

  • Networking with national and international organisations involved in the same fields with similar activities was reinforced. The membership of the Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Association, FECABPA, expanded with partnership.

  • Cameroon Link was honour by two major news making events:
    1. The national coordinator was appointment to lead the WABA Men's Initiative as International Coordinator and was trained in Penang.
    2. Cameroon Link was awarded the 2008 WABA WBW Marathon Competition Gold Medal with a certificate.

  • The policy orientation training at WABA Secretariat in Penang led to the creation of the information blog and YouTube sites that are accessed by clicking on http://cameroonlink.blogspot.com and http://uk.youtube.com/camlink99

  • Cameroon Link's partnership with the Fine Forest Foundation UK created the opportunity for the Commonwealth Professional Fellowship Commission to award three persons with in-house training at the Sickle Cell Society London, UK on programmes management, Practical Quality Assurance for Small Size Organisation (PQASSO) and fundraising strategies.


The following results were achieved:

  • The personnel of public and private health facilities in Cameroon were sensitized on the protection, promotion and support missions of WABA and IBFAN for starting BFHI in the hospitals and maternities for extending to BFCI within the communities with the involvement of community health workers and support groups;

  • Mothers, fathers and the communities were sensitized on the place of breastfeeding for the survival of the child;

  • Mothers and the community were sensitized on the importance of putting to the breast the baby within the 1st hour that follows delivery and the practice of exclusive breastfeeding within the first 6 months for the survival of the child, and complimentary feeding thereafter with continued breastfeeding up to 24 months and beyond within the context of BFHI and BFCI promotion.

  • The personnel of health facilities are sensitized on the implementation of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) as strategy for promotion, protection and support of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and thereafter with complimentary supplements.

  • Media advocacy was organized through conferences, radio and television programmes and newspaper publications for greater awareness and out reach of the populations. CD-ROMs and specialized programmes were produced for social mobilisation campaigns and animation of programmes on community radio stations in the local languages.

  • Men and Youths were involved through the Men's Working Group activities in Cameroon for gender mainstreaming, the protection, promotion and support of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months within the IBFAN Africa Maternity Protection Seedgrant 2008.

  • The dispositions of the decree N° 2005/51 68/PM of 1st December 2005 in booklet format regulating the marketing of substitutes of breast milk in Cameroon was distributed to the personnel of health facilities, manufacturers and distributors of infant formulae and complementary food products.

  • An analysis of the Cameroon Code led to a request for updating its content to include sanctions, through the issuing of the text of application of the national code in Cameroon.

  • A national exhibition was organized during the mass launching event of celebrations of the World Breastfeeding Week by at the Hospital in Essos-Yaoundé. This activity served as opportunity for IBFAN Cameroon Link Group exposure.

  • The National Social Insurance Fund (CNPS) General Hospital of Essos-Yaoundé was focal point of the activities of the World Breastfeeding Week in Cameroon due to the fact that it serves working mothers and women most for maternity protection purposes through weekly counselling.

  • The Cameroon Link leadership of the Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Associations, FECABPA, led to closer contacts and negotiation of partnership with the government for the promotion of infant and young child feeding through its legal framework document issued in Yaoundé on the 10th December 2007.


  • Members of the Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Association, FECABPA, recommend that administrative authorities, municipal and traditional leaders get more involved in future plans of action consistently. As decision makers, they can accelerate behaviour change in the communities and give more colours to the events.

  • FECABPA suggests that sponsors not in the formulae production and distribution chains should henceforth be associated in the organisation of breastfeeding promotion events. Examples of such sponsors are in the telecommunication business sector like ORANGE, MTN, CAMTEL, and PMUC.

  • FECABPA recommends that the government through the ministry of public health should allocate more funding and technical means to support efforts of NGOs and associations involved in the protection promotion and support of breastfeeding.

  • FECABPA recommends that the official launching of the WBW 2009 be organized out of the capital city of Yaoundé , so that other regions can also benefit from the side effects of the one week long event that pulls large populations and decision makers together.

  • FECABPA recommends that more regular training should be planned for recycling actors at the national and regional levels on breastfeeding promotion and protection up dates for the achievement of at least one BFHI Certification by UNICEF in Cameroon and to increase the percentage of exclusive breastfeeding from 24% to 30%.

  • FECABPA finally recommends that the government should urgently put in place a National Code Monitoring Committee that would suggest punitive measures including business closure, suspension of license or financial penalty for damages caused due to illegal market competition by any company violators of the existing national code. Sanctions should be included in the existing Cameroon National Code to strengthen the articles and encourage effective monitoring strategies that would enforce its application at all levels.

Cameroon Men's Support Initiative Snapshot
By James Achanyi-Fontem, Cameroon Link

Generally in Cameroon, fathers are breadwinners and mother takes care of children and household. This is in approximately 70% of the cases. It is only recently that some house wives are beginning to accept to work like their husbands. Gender equity promotion is getting women to understand that they do not have to be too dependent on the man, though Cameroon is ranked number 103 out of the 115 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2006.

Aloysuis joins first-time Fathes' Club.

Men and women need to be well educated on gender issues, especially in the reproductive rights sector for more harmonious families and communities. Parental commitments are not a big issue. As concerns parental education around the birth of a child, only mothers are well educated and prepared during the pre-natal consultation and counseling sessions. This is done in the Mother & Child Care Centres in public and private hospitals. Counselling opportunities are not offered the fathers on regular basis. The number of teen mothers is growing, because girls see pride in early parenthood. The practice of early marriages (12-16 years of age) is rampant in Cameroon.

Men's support groups that focus on parenthood have existed for a long time. The groups main issue is finance/economy. As concerns counseling or other support in connection with divorce, separation, visitation and family violence, this is the duty of the social welfare centres often attached either to the divisional offices or public security department for handling of violence. The divisional office social welfare services handle mother and child welfare issues. Poverty is often the cause of family conflicts and violence, and infants fall victim of this circumstance.

Father-friendly hospital initiative is new and not well developed because there are not enough counselors in the social welfare centers. Most of the counselors are women, who often lack the capacity to convince the men when it comes to behaviour change communication issues. This may also be because there are more serious issues to tackle in the hospitals affecting children between 0 to 5 years.

About companies and parental leave, the labour code is respected and parents are allowed parental leave by companies, though this is very short and only three days for the men. On the other hand, mothers are accorded breastfeeding hours in the morning and afternoon.
From what has been said above, we suggest the following:

  • Gender mainstreaming in supportive activities would help change attitudes and behaviour regarding Infant and Young Child Feeding.

  • Leaders of father support groups should be trained on a number of issues including major obstacles to breastfeeding and strategies to overcome them (as the Father Support Micro-credit Initiative).

  • Father Friendly Hospital Initiative should be started in Cameroon hospitals and health facilities.

  • Fathers' roles should be included in the BFHI and Community Baby Friendly Initiative protocols to encourage pre-natal and post-partum counseling.

  • Fathers should be as educated as mothers concerning breastfeeding.

  • Fathers should advocate strongly against actions that discourage breastfeeding.

  • Co-workers and employers should be educated on the need for paid paternity leave and flexible work hours for fathers to concentrate on the support of the mothers after delivery.

  • Men should take the challenge to organize counseling sessions for the prevention of breast ironing of their daughters.

  • In Cameroon's patriarchal communities, culture rules that the man supports the family and be served by the woman. This needs to be corrected. Breastfeeding would only be fully supported when Cameroon communities understand that breastfeeding is a shared responsibility wherein all men's moral support and congenial ambiance is necessary. Having a baby is a joint decision. So, the responsibility of taking care of children should also be a joint responsibility. Much more has to be done in this area.

Profile of Active FECABPA Affiliates


UFAPROD-M is a Women's Community Based Organisation in the rural area of Mfou, some 100 kms from Yaoundé, national capital city of Cameroon. It was created in 2003 and accredited by the ministry of public health in 2006 with a letter of collaboration with special area of intervention being the promotion of infant and young child feeding.

Lucie & Bertrand sharing family task.

Since 2006, UFAPROD-M has participated in all meetings organized at the ministry of public health for the promotion of breastfeeding and taken part during the World Breastfeeding Weeks. The organization collaborates with the Health District of Mfou in planning activities for all the different mother support groups in Mfou town and its rural surrounding villages.
Others partners of UFAPROD Mfou are authorities of the social welfare services and local associations that group women within village micro-credit unions. Members of these unions meet on weekly basis to save their weekly earned revenues, while other women borrow to expand their income generating activities.

Every member of UFAPROD has a farm with three or four seasonal subsistence and cash crops. During harvest periods, the crops are deposited at the UFAPROD cooperative at Mfou, where suppliers from Yaoundé City go and collect after buying at reasonable prices. The whole idea of selling through the cooperative is to guarantee price stability in other to avoid any losses by the women. This has created equal opportunities for all women of Mfou, who are now less dependent on their partners.

On the other hand, it is the men who supply the women with farming tools as contribution. Money earned from the farming activities is managed by the women themselves as a means of empowering them and making them less dependent on men.

The administrative authorities, Mfou Rural Council and élite accord substantial aid to the women. The women's group in 2007 benefit from a ministry of public health subvention equivalent to US $ 5000.00 for the expansion of their activities and sensitization of mother support groups for the protection and promotion of breastfeeding.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Embassy accorded the organisation some material assistance, which was distributed to mothers at the Mfou Women's Prison. UFAPROD organizes collection of dresses for children born in prison every six months, when sensitization activities are planned within the prisons setting.

With the introduction of the men's working group into FECABPA action plan, UFAPROD Mfou has started contacts with the traditional village leaders to associate men in their weekly discussions. Due to the time table of the men's activities, meetings are organized twice a month at the palaces of the traditional leaders on how men can support their partners in various ways.


Association de Solidarité de Santé des Femmes, ASSF, of Ngwélé-Bonabéri is a women's counselling and child care organisation created in 2005 after capacity building and gender empowerment training at the Cameroon Link Documentation Centre. The executive bureau of ASSF was put in place by the women themselves through democratic elections. The women undertake activities for mother support and advocacy for the promotion of breastfeeding. Members of the association meet every first Friday of the month from 2 p.m to 6 p.m to learn an income generating trade from a member within the frame work of exchange learning and practical training.

One of the members is chosen to volunteer as facilitator one each occasion and it is all the women who share the responsibility of bringing the necessary materials for the practical session through small donations. Generally a small budget is fixed for the materials and the amount is shared amongst the women equally before collection day. Before the day of the meeting, the social secretary goes from door-to-door to remind the mothers of the time of the trade practical session and the subject that would be treated and discussed, so that everyone arrives prepared.

COGESID Bonamikano & Mambanda

COGESID Bonamikano and COGESID Mambanda are the very first Women Gender Councils put in place in 2003 through the health development initiative of Cameroon Link with the technical support of the Canadian Cooperation in Cameroon. The idea was as a result of a sponsorship announcement by the Canadian Fund for the Promotion of Gender and Development in Cameroon by the Canadian International Development Agency.

First-time mothers during CamLink counselling session in Douala.

As the name of the organisation "COGESID" stands for " Comité de Genre, SIDA et Développement. " The women's capacity building training was organized jointly by Cameroon Link and Consultants of the MASHAV International Cooperation Centre in Haifa, Israel on the invitation of the Embassy of Israel in Yaounde. During the course, women were taught how to operate as a team in collaboration with their partners. They were educated on what gender is and what it is not. The women were taught strategies for preventing themselves against HIV/AIDS and how to become less dependent on men financially. There are currently eight women gender councils in operating with the technical support of Cameroon Link in Bonabéri-Douala. These groups are located Bonamikano, Mambanda, Djébalé, Bonassama-Beseke and Nkoumba, Sodiko, Ngwélé, and Grand Hangar health areas.

Cameroon Link emphasis is on getting the women learn a trade through micro-enterprise creation and management. The training programme runs through a period of nine months with short theoretical and practical thematic courses grouping some 20 to 30 women. Each villages or health area selects 20 women and 10 men for the training, which was spread over a period of nine months covering issues related to gender promotion, HIV/AIDS prevention, Infant and Young Child Feeding, Mother and Child Protection and the organization and management of micro-enterprise. The training is interactive with practical field learning exercises.

Each group is guided on how to develop group constitution and internal regulations before election of its leaders. Cameroon Link also facilitates the legalization process for the groups after elections are conducted for validation by authorities of the public administration and public health.

The idea behind the programme is to get the women learn how to organize themselves, plan their activities, execute them, monitor activities and evaluate the different phases themselves. In short, the women are led to the level of community project ownership.

Some COGESID groups opted to create women's counselling and child care centre after the legalization phase, while other got involved in micro-credit enterprise initiative. These centres operates on daily basis with a team of six women and three men to support them. Some of the women's groups received their implantation seedgrants from the National AIDS Control Committee within the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV project.

Cameroon Link continues to support the groups technically and organizes short refresher training for the groups on demand. COGESID has participated in all World Breastfeeding Week campaigns since their birth. Members make annual contributions for some funding raising activities at its centre. The populations of Bonamikano and Mambanda are attracted to the centres by the health up dates given on weekly basis during counseling sessions. Difficult situation are referred to the Health District Hospitals.

CLLS Mambanda

Comité Local de Lutte contre le SIDA, CLLS, of Mambanda is the very first local intiative for HIV/AIDS prevention put in place by Cameroon Link in Bonabéri-Douala with the technical support of the Cameroon National AIDS Control Committee in 2001. Five of such groups were created in that same year in Sodiko, Grand Hangar, Quartier Bilingue, Nkomba and Mambanda. CLLS Mambanda has 50 members who are regularly involved in community health social mobilization and sensitization for HIV prevention.

The groups participate in World Breastfeeding Week activities in their health areas within the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and the promotion of behaviour change communication activities. CLLS Mambanda receives senstization materials through Cameroon Link's Documentation Centre in Grand Hangar-Bonabéri. Mambanda is the most thickly populated health area in Bonabéri with over 25.000 inhabitants.

Cameroon Link WBW Plan of Action (1st - 7th August 2009)

Date Activity Venue Persons Involved Measurable Indicator
1st August
  • Participation during official National Launching Mass Event
  • Organization of Exhibition by IYCF Promotion NGOs
  • Media Advocacy Action and involvement of Legislators and decision makers for Code Improvement
Venue to be announced by Ministry of Public

Health S.E. Minister of Public Health

Diplomatic Representatives
MOH Top level staff

Infant & Young Child Feeding Networking NGO leaders (FECABPA)

Over 5.000 persons out reach with several lactating mothers, expectant mothers and fathers' support groups involved
2nd August
  • Media campaign on the importance and relevance of WBW 2009 Theme ;
  • Revisit of the decree N° 2005/5158/PM of 01/12/2005 on the marketing of substitutes of Breast milk and advocacy for text of application.
  • Distribution of sensitization materials, CD-ROMs to media houses for specialized programmes in local languages.
  • Distribution of translated materials in local languages (Pidgin and Douala) to community radio stations. CRTV Yaoundé

CRTV Douala

Canal 2 Tv

Community Radio Stations (Radio Véritas, City Ocean Radio, FM Suelaba, Radio des Laureats, Sweet FM, Lebialem FM, etc.

Newspaper Houses

Cameroon Link HQ
Fathers and Mothers' Support Groups
Cameroon Link Staff

FECABPA Network Members


Programme Producers & Editors

Radio Broadcasters & Tv Presenters

Community Health Workers

Breastfeeding Counsellors

  • Wide coverage of event with organisation of specialized radio/Tv programmes
  • More articles are published in news papers
  • Community Radio Stations organize out reach live shows in local languages
  • Nutrition NGOs exploit WABA WBW Folders for educative talks.
3rd August

Social mobilization & advocacy for fathers' and mothers' support

Community Health Centres used as focal point foe action with involvement of nurses /midwives FECABPA
Cameroon Link Group
Expectant mothers, Breastfeeding Working Mothers
Fathers and Youths in Douala
  • Mass participation of pregnant and lactating mothers
  • Employers involved
4th August Organisation of educative talks for mothers' support groups on breastfeeding in the context of HIV/AIDS (WHO/UNICEF Up Dated Recommendations).
Counselling of lactating mothers
Bonassama Health District - (Grand Hangar, Ngwélé, Sodiko, Bonamikano) Cameroon Link Group
Fathers' Support Groups
Mothers' Support Groups
Youths' Support Groups
  • Films on past wbw celebration projects.
  • Health area focal points expand Men's Involvement.
5th August Counselling of Men and Youths on the type of support that breastfeeding mothers merit from fathers and youths at the time of emergency Cameroon Link
Documentation Centre - Bonabéri
Community Health Workers
Father Support Groups
Youth Support Groups
More than 200 persons counselled on infant and young child feeding in emergencies.
6th August Organization of Open Door Exhibition and Community Education on risks due to the use of the artificial feeding. Organisation of quiz and distribution of wbw materials Cameroon Link Documentation Centre - Bonabéri " General public and community health workers

Expectant Mothers

Fathers & Youths

100 persons counselled 5000 persons reached through materials distributed and live quiz show
7th August Conference on the International Code and organisation of monitoring in super markets and health facilities of Cameroon by FECABPA members as part of open day activities. Super Markets in Douala and Yaounde
Grand Hangar-Bonabéri - (Douala City)
Members of FECABPA resident in Douala and Yaoundé Code violations identified and reported to the Ministry of Public Health and the International Code Monitoring Documentation Centre.

Materials received from the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) are translated for use by community health workers and the local radio stations for out reach

Resources Persons

James Achanyi-Fontem, Coordinator - WABA MWG
Dr. Mbunya Nkondem Simon, District Health Chief - Bonassama
Samuel Mibe, Focal Point of Reproductive Health (Regional Delegation for Health in Douala)
Mrs. Yvonne Bekeny, Development & Cooperation Consultant (Cameroon Link)
Mrs. Priscille Mouto, President of Women Gender Council - COGESID Bonamikano
Ms. Lilian Nkenganyi, Cameroon Link Code Monitor
Regina Atemafac, Midwife - CS Nkomba
Cyprian Agbor, Cameroon Link Code Monitor

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The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide. WABA action is based on the Innocenti Declaration, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the Global Strategy for Infant & Young Child Feeding. Its core partners are IBFAN, LLLI, ILCA, Wellstart International and ABM. Find out more at the WABA.

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