Mother to Mother Support Group Training in Bossaso


In Puntland currently, the breastfeeding counseling and promotion services for the pregnant and lactating mothers are integrated with Ante-natal care (ANC) services at health facility level with many gaps. Community-IYCF is more effective in addressing the gaps at facility level because target groups can be reached easily. In response to these challenges, Puntland Youth and Social Development Association (PSA) signed partnership agreement with UNICEF to deliver community based intervention on IYCN in Bossaso town in collaboration with Ministry of Health.


The main strategies for delivering these IYCN services are through trained community health workers and peer support groups (mother to mother support groups) integrated with social mobilization and advocacy using different channels to reach the target audiences. Based on the action plan in the agreement between UNICEF and PSA, The capacity of 22 mothers with children 0-59 months on breastfeeding, complementary feeding and mother-to- mother support group (MtMSG) facilitation techniques was enhanced in Bossaso.


The participants were extracted from selected sites in IDPs and host communities in Bossaso. The main training materials used for the course was the generic C-IYCF package developed by UNICEF and SPRING. Mother-to-mother support group (MtMSG) are groups of women, of any age who come together to learn about and discuss issues of infant and young child nutrition (IYCN).


These women also support each other as they care for children age 0-5 years. One member of each group will be trained on IYCN as well as on basic group facilitation techniques. This person will be responsible for engaging group members in discussions about IYCN and providing basic health education in an interactive, participatory manner.

  1. Objectives

 Infant feeding- objectives

  • Mention benefits s of breastfeeding for the baby and for the mother.
  • State why early initiation of breastfeeding is important.
  • Help a mother of a 0–2-month-old baby with correct positioning and attachment.
  • Define exclusive breastfeeding.
  • Identify three common challenges of breastfeeding along with their prevention, symptoms, and solutions.
  • Identify the age at which to begin introducing foods.
  • Describe a baby’s first foods (local, available, and affordable).
  • Name three popular beliefs and myths about breastfeeding and explain how they relate to optimal breastfeeding practices.

Mother-to-mother support group- objectives

  • Facilitate a breastfeeding mother-to-mother support group.
  • Name characteristics of a mother-to-mother support group.
  • Name characteristics of a facilitator in a mother-to-mother support group.
  • Define requirements for selecting a mother-to-mother support group facilitator.
  • Name necessary components for organizing mother-to-mother support groups.
  • Explain why an information system is important.
  • Explain why follow-up and support are important to the mother-to-mother support group
  1. Methodology:

The training was conducted in circle to reinforce the atmosphere of respect, attention, trust, honesty and understanding that characterizes a mother to mother support groups. New knowledge, attitudes, and skills were reinforced through practice facilitating and participating in mother to mother support groups. The results of the pre- and post-test tools were used to identify content areas that have been difficult for participants to grasp.

Agenda for the training session

  • Opening remark, self introduction, ground rules, expectations and objectives
  • Opening training, Introduction, group norms, expectations and purpose of the training
  • Overview of Mother to Mother Support group
  • Benefits of breastfeeding & Starting breastfeeding immediately
  • How breast makes Milk, ( support group practices )
  • Positioning and attachment and breastfeeding challenges
  • Exclusive breastfeeding (support group practices )
  • Feeding babies at 6 months
  • Preparing food safely and helping child to eat
  • Complementary food ( support group practices)
  • Eating during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Support group practices Closing remarks


The training started on first day on time at 8:00 AM with a welcome note followed by participant introductions, registration and their expectations from the training.


The training ended on the third day at 3:30 PM with closing remarks from PSA Coordinator and the trainer, from the post training evaluation, the objectives of the training were met and achieved


During the training, participants learned new knowledge and skills on IYCN as well as mother-to-mother support group facilitation techniques and we are expecting that the participants engage mother-to-mother group members in discussions about breastfeeding and complementary feeding and provide basic health nutrition education in an interactive and participatory manner.  However, we need to arrange follow up with additional supervised practices at the participant’s worksite until competency is achieved.