Issue No. 3
January 2008

In our continuous effort to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, we face challenges daily. In this struggle, we aim to take our message through different channels of communication in the society. Sometimes, we fall in our individual attempts.

Here, at this vital point, our concerns bring us to focus this issue on "Social Mobilisation and YOUth".

It is with the small effort made by a lot of people, we can make the difference together. We try to orientate our efforts in a network, promoting the mobilisation of different actors inside the society to achieve a common goal. This is social mobilisation, this is solidarity.

All of us, as small groups that promote breastfeeding as human right, should realise we are not alone. Each and everyone of us conforms to a fundamental part in the work that we do in this huge network.

This is the essence of social mobilisation. The smallest effort is important to spread the social commitment. We are “caught” in a cause that makes us proud, and together, we will walk in the path, supporting each other.

- Santiago Vallone, Editor, Issue No. 3



by Anwar Fazal, Chairperson Emeritus, WABA

Todays world is dominated by violence,by manipulation and by waste. Over one million infants are allowed to die because we don't protect,promote and support breastfeeding. Some of the worlds largest corporations have been implicated in this massive tragedy through deliberate and misguided propaganda on an inferior product - artificial milk . Huge economic resources are wasted on buying this unnecessary product and massive environmental damage is also done to the planet through plastic, tins, fuel and land use.

We can change the world.

We have stopped most advertising, removed misleading pictures and information, stopped free supplies to hospitals and launched Baby Friendly Hospitals and community support system but we have still a long way to go.

The movement was inspired by many young people. A young person, Mike Muller, seeking refuge from the then apartheid regime in South Africa wrote the first popular expose of the scandal. A group of brave students in Switzerland, the Berne Declaration led by Christopher Kurth, translated the book with the title "Nestle Kills Babies", which shocked the world and Switzerland. A long court trial exposed the issues further and led to a global outcry, and UN intervention!

The inspiration is that the youth were always leading actors and their efforts made a global difference!

The power to change the world is with all of us. The challenge is to exercise that power and to assert it
in a strategic way. Five triggers of power are with us:

# the power of ONE - history has shown us that one person can make the difference;
# the power of MANY - lean to form and influence groups so we can have the synergy of more people;
# the power of INFORMATION - the power of the internet now give you the power of being anywhere, anytime;
# the power of internationally agreed instrument of the United Nations - there provide the framework for our action. "We, the people of the world...." , the first words of the UN founding Charter, give us the most powerful mandate!
# the power of SUCCESS - many places in the world have shown us that we can do it. Share them, celebrate them and be inspired by them to do more.

The above five organising principles of social mobilisation are fundamental in making the world a better place. Remember that it is little people in little place doing little things that add up to the crescendo that makes the tipping point for transformational change.

And the youth of the world are the vanguard for this!
Be part of the change, starting today.

Anwar Fazal is a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, popularly known at the "Alternative Nobel Prize" and often reminds us that he is in the youth of old age!

  • YOUth brochure in a new language: The YOUth brochure is the first global project of the WABA YOUth Initiative. It is available in English, Spanish, and NOW, UKRANIAN !!
    To download, please go to

    Share this brochure with your friends on how breastfeeding can be linked to their lives. Inside the brochure, you can find information about WHY breastfeeding important, HOW can it be fashionable, and its linkages with other important issues like Gender, Economics, Women and Work, Reproduction Health, Human Rights, the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitute, Environment and HIV.
  • World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2008 Photography Contest Feature your breastfeeding photos in this year's Action Folder! WABA is organising a global breastfeeding photography contest for WBW 2008. Ten winning photos will be selected, and contributors whose photos are featured in the Action Folders will be awarded US$100 for each published photo. For more information, please go to

WBW 2007 Synchronised Breastfeeding Worldwide:
Over 10,000 MotherBaby Pairs joined the Synchronised Breastfeeding Globally

Mothers and babies in 14 countries joined efforts to breastfeed in a global synchronized breastfeeding project on 8 August 2007, which was organized in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). The event, carried out at 325 sites in 14 countries at 10am their local time, attracted 10,103 motherbabies. A total of 9,826 motherbaby pairs successfully latched on for one minute.

This inaugural world attempt saw participation of breastfeeding groups in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America and Latin America. Philippines top the contribution for this record, with over 7,000 motherbaby pairs, followed by Japan and New Zealand, with over 1,000 and 800 respectively. The event was spearheaded by Children for Breastfeeding-Philippines, in partnership with the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).

This feat crossed national boundaries in a collaborative, global effort to promote, protect and support breastfeeding. “We want to elevate breastfeeding to a level where it is considered the norm, where mothers and children are proud to breastfeed.,” said Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra, Director of Children for Breastfeeding.

The effort for global synchronized breastfeeding will also bring attention from policy makers to the communities to recognize the importance of breastfeeding initiation during the first hour. “The challenge is to find creative and convincing ways at the community level to encourage breastfeeding and to provide national authorities with solid evidence of the advantages of promoting breastfeeding at the national level,” said Ann Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF.

The events attracted collaborations from UN agencies, governments, hospitals and other NGOs. “The authorities who attended our event were very touched. It is important to show policy makers the importance to support mothers to breastfeed, particularly during the first hour of babies’ lives,” said Yanet Olivares of Dominican Republic, which recorded 77 mother-baby pairs.

Many braved storms and continuous rains in Asia to join this historic event. Belen Dofitas was one committed mother in the Philippines. “Matt and I traveled despite the storm, and we managed to gather 40 mothers and children pairs at our site,” she said.

Many mothers and babies were also accompanied by spouses and other family members as a sign of family commitment towards helping mothers to breastfeed successfully. In Malaysia, Pong Yong How, a first-time father who accompanied his wife and baby at the event in Penang, said it was important for fathers to encourage breastfeeding. “Breastfeeding is not an easy job. Newborns have to be fed over 10 times a day,” he said.

This is the first time WABA is sponsoring a coordinated global activity for World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), celebrated in the first week of August in over 120 countries worldwide. The theme for 2007 is Breastfeeding: The 1st Hour - Early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding for six months can save more than ONE million babies!, emphasizing that one simple action of allowing the baby to initiate breastfeeding in the first hour of life could potentially save one million babies.

For more information:

Country Registered
Country Reported
Number of MotherBabies participated
Number of MotherBabies breastfed at 10am, 8 Aug 07
Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
Hong Kong
Japan, 25 sites
Malaysia, 2 sites
New Zealand
New Zealand
Philippines, 195 sites
Singapore, 4 sites
United Kingdom
USA, 7 sites

Youth Forum in Philippines

About 150 youth volunteers were given orientation on breastfeeding and many of them committed to organise a site for the synchronised breastfeeding event. Some of the youth participants in the forum volunteered in organising the launching of the event in Malacanang Presidential Palace.

The orientation included the following topics: The Ideal Breastfeeding Goals, Benefits of Breastfeeding to Mothers and Children, The Economic Consequences of the Loss of the Breastfeeding Culture, I Can Work Because I Breastfeed! and the Hazards of Formula Feeding. We also had games for the participants to realise that mothers need a lot of support to be able to breastfeed. There was also a session on where to get up-to-date information on breastfeeding promotion, support and protection.

Members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were also invited to talk about the health hazards and environmental consequences of cow’s milk consumption that include mucus formation, diabetes, asthma and cancer. They also showed "Meet Your Meat", a video documentary of how animals including cows are suffering from maltreatment and diseases.

Our partner government agency the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) sent all their student scholars who are taking the course on Caregiving and both the officials and the students were very grateful to us for providing them the breastfeeding advocacy lectures.

For more information, please contact Nona D. Andaya-Castillo, IBCLC (


IBFAN Africa said Welcome to YOUth!

IBFAN Africa Youth Network was launched during the IBFAN Africa Regional Conference, 13th - 18th August 2007 in Maputo, Mozambique! On top that, they lobbied succesfully for a full time, youth, Executive Board Representative who will sit as a full member on the Board giving the Youth a voice in all the organisations' programmes and activities. The Constitution is currently being amended to reflect this.

This is a big achievement for the Youth in Africa, and also for us!

For more information, please contact Vulie (email:


Youths Promoting Breastfeeding in India

A group of sixteen youths from Chidambaram of Cuddalore district in Andhra Pradesh participated in a countrywide expedition to aware the masses about the ten most pertinent social issues that concern to all.

The youths, known as ‘friends of police’, joined in a cycle rally that began on 1st July and continued up to 6th August 2007, and the rally marched though the states and places of Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana,New Delhi, Pondicherry, Chenni and Hyderabad.

Dr. A. Muthuswami, who works for the promotion of breastfeeding in Cuddalore district, said that the youths carrying the message of breastfeeding in the country would certainly help the people, especially youths, to understand the importance of breastfeeding and for the betterment of young children. The youths informed that the Delhi Chief Minister appreciated them for inclusion of the message of breastfeeding in ten social issues.

For more information, please contact Subrata Dutta (email:



Research Updates

We are sharing the summary of a document called “The ICEC and Global Social Mobilization”, from the Tulane University (New Orleans, LA, USA).

In 1991, Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine was asked to undertake the task of developing a Global Social Mobilization Training and Research Program. The need for such a program was recognized by UNDP, WHO, UNFPA, PAHO, USHHS and USAID, which gave small grants and/or technical support to the program.

The document explains the five different social group in partnership: Political - policy makers, Bureaucratic/Technocratic – government workers and technical experts, Non-governmental sector, Community Groups and Households and Individuals. The basic elements of social mobilisation are further illustrated in the following diagram:

The document also has an interesting review of network development in countries from Asia, Africa, Latin America, middle East/South Asia and other cities, countries and regions, and the latest social mobilisation developments. With all these we can have a quick view on what is going on with social mobilisation issues around the world.

YOUth can see the document in this link:
Enjoy it!



Maureen DeMarino is a member of YOUth-4-Breastfeeding e-group. In her duty of work, she encourages young people to breastfeed.

"I am a registered nurse/certified lactation counselor and I am employed by the Cuyahoga County WIC Program in Ohio. My duties include obtaining health data on pregnant woman, post-partum women, infants and children up to age 5. I also do the education sessions for our clients regarding breastfeeding and infant and child care. I have worked for the WIC program for 15yrs, although I have been a registered nurse for 25 yrs. My goal is to try and encourage and support young women to have the confidence to breastfeed their infants successfully. At times I do one on one couseling if a mom is having any breastfeeding concerns and make appropriate referrals. I came across your website and was very impressed with not only your brochure, but also your ability to get youth from all over the country involved in supporting breastfeeding. Once again, I thank you for your response and look forward to networking with YOUth 4 breastfeeding!! "
Maureen DeMarino, RNCLC



(Jan - March 2008)
31 Jan - 5 Feb International Conference for the International Society for Research on Human Milk & Lactation, Perth, Australia
Jan 26th World Social Forum (
Jan 38th Session of CEDAW
14 Feb WABA's 17th Anniversary
27 Feb Wellstart's 23rd Anniversary
25 Feb -
7 Mar
52nd Session of Commision on Status of Women:
"Financing for Gender Equality & the Empowerment of Women"
7 Mar International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) Day
8 Mar International Women's Day: "Financing for Gender Equality"
15 Mar World Consumer Rights Day
22 Mar World Water Day

35th Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN) Annual Session, Hanoi, Vietnam;
SCN 30th Anniversary


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The opinions and information expressed in the articles of this issue do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of WABA, the Youth Working Group and the Newsletter Editors. For further information or topic discussion, please email us.
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 based on the Innocenti Declarations, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. Its core partners are International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), La Leche League International (LLLI), International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), Wellstart International and Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM). WABA is in consultative status with UNICEF and an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).

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