The SUN Movement celebrates 2021 World Breastfeeding Week

Each year, from 1-7 August, countries, organisations and nutrition champions celebrate World Breastfeeding Week all over the world. In 2021, under its theme ‘Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility’, this week served as an important a time to revisit the commitments made at the start of…

August 30, 2021 - Last update: February 10, 2023

Each year, from 1-7 August, countries, organisations and nutrition champions celebrate World Breastfeeding Week all over the world. In 2021, under its theme ‘Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility’, this week served as an important a time to revisit the commitments made at the start of this year, the Year of Action on Nutrition, by prioritising breastfeeding-friendly environments for mothers and babies.

“As we approach the UN Food Systems Summit in September and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit in December, governments, donors, civil society and the private sector all have an opportunity to make smart investments and commitments to tackle the global malnutrition crisis – including protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding – through stronger policies, programmes and actions.” – SUN Lead Group chair and UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, and WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in their joint statement to mark 2021 World Breastfeeding Week

Here is quick reminder of what we mean by breastfeeding-friendly environments:

  • Ensuring the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes – established to protect mothers from aggressive marketing practices by the baby food industry – is fully implemented by governments, health workers and industry.
  • Ensuring healthcare workers have the resources and information they need to effectively support mothers to breastfeed, including through global efforts such as the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, and guidelines on breastfeeding counselling.
  • Ensuring employers allow women the time and space they need to breastfeed; including paid parental leave with longer maternity leave; safe places for breastfeeding in the workplace; access to affordable and good-quality childcare; and universal child benefits and adequate wages.
Source: Alive & Thrive


In Bangladesh:

Two webinars focused attention on the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, in light of restrictions on movement and gatherings due to COVID-19. The events involved the Bangladesh Pediatrics Association (BPA) and the Obs/Gyn Society of Bangladesh (OGSB) and served as a platform to dissemination of briefs on adherence to the country’s BMS Act. Leaders of both associations are influential advocates for breastfeeding and upholding the BMS Act.

In Burkina Faso:

A public celebration, featuring the Minister of Health and other stakeholders, to focus on ‘Breastfeeding: A shared responsibility’ included a national launch ceremony in Plateau Central Region with the presence of the First Lady, the Ministers of Health and Trade, and the National Champion of Nutrition,  awarding of the “Neema Lobo” prize for the best journalists in breastfeeding and nutrition; caravan of Journalists made an infomercial of breastfeeding activities in Zorgho, Kaya, Boussouma, Ziniare health districts; a celebration of regional nutrition champions; and a debate  with journalists regarding the theme of the 2021 World Breastfeeding Week was held.

In Cambodia:

Cambodia’s government ministries, in collaboration with the SUN Civil Society Alliance and other organisations, held a comprehensive online celebration with interactive activities such as games and quizzes, photo and video contest, and a reporting contest. SUN CSA Cambodia also launched a new online system for reporting violations against Sub-Decree 133 on the Marketing of Products for Infant and Young Child Feeding.

In Costa Rica:

The Ministry of Health, in partnership with FAO and the SUN Movement, launched food-based dietary guidelines to safeguard the best possible start in life for a child’s first 1,000 days – the most critical window of opportunity for nutrition and wellbeing. Learn more: Costa Rica launches dietary guidelines.

In Democratic Republic of Congo:

Her Excellency, the First Lady of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Denise Tshisekedi, launched the public awareness campaign, called ‘Stronger with Breastmilk Only’ that aims to ignite breastfeeding policies and social change to stop giving water to babies under 6 months.

In Ethiopia:

The Federal Ministry of Health and Ethiopia Food and Drug Authority organised a national commemoration and opening event in the presence of the State Minister of Health, Directors of Maternal and Child Health & Nutrition Directorate, the Food and Nutrition Coordination Office within the ministry, the authority’s Director and partners including Alive & Thrive. Alive & Thrive also developed brochures and posters celebrating the Week in local Afar, Afan Oromo, Amharic and Somali languages. A high-profile press event involving the Federal Ministry of Health and other partners was held, with attendance by journalists from state and private media, particularly those with programs on nutrition and related themes. Alive & Thrive also held an event to disseminate its BFHI assessment findings with government and partners, including UNICEF and Save the Children.

In Madagascar:

An event entitled “Shared responsibility for creating favourable framework conditions for breastfeeding in all areas of society” brought technical partners and other stakeholders together to mark World Breastfeeding Week 2021. Organised by the Ministry of Health, the event featured the First Lady of Madagascar, Her Excellency Mialy Rajoelina, a nutrition champion.

In Myanmar:

A Facebook fan page, for the “#6la Mother’s milk is all you need” campaign was launched to support mothers to exclusively breastfeed their infants from 0 to 6 months, the WHO recommendation. This page will provide reliable information about breastfeeding and inform mothers about proper child feeding practices through mothers’ stories, quizzes and visuals.

In Niger:

The Ministry of Health and other stakeholders participate a public breastfeeding celebration. The government also planned a training on the BMS Code for members of health professionals’ associations and a national organisation of midwives, complemented by workshops at the community level. The Direction of Nutrition is launching a nationwide awareness-raising campaign on breastfeeding featuring spots and sketches in several languages to be broadcast on television and radio and presented in articles in the written press.

In Nigeria:

On 4 August, stakeholders launched the National Guidelines for Implementation of the Baby Friendly Initiative. These national guidelines, developed through a multiple stakeholder process, provide guidance for all hospitals in providing maternity and new-born services, and for communities and workplaces to support optimal infant breastfeeding practices. A webinar, hosted by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) with support from Alive & Thrive, on “Breastfeeding – A shared responsibility,” explored the protection of breastfeeding from the health system, workplace, family, and community perspectives. Also, in Kaduna state, Alive & Thrive engaged selected social media influencers to promote breastfeeding in line with the #SharedResponsibility theme through their various social media handles and platforms. Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire urged Nigerians, to become advocates of exclusive breastfeeding and support mothers to practice optimal breastfeeding for the good of the great Nation throughout the week.

In Philippines:

The Philippines have celebrated a full breastfeeding month, themed Tulong-Tulong sa Pagpapasuso sa – First 1,000 Days! (Let’s help each other to support breastfeeding in the first 1,000 days!).” Throughout the celebration month in August 2021, the Department of Health, in collaboration with Alive & Thrive and other partners, have conducted a series of events, including technical forums and public interactive sessions. In particular, Alive & Thrive will work with the Department to produce a series of videos on breastfeeding support.

In Senegal:

A stronger with breastmilk only campaign was launched with the Government and other stakeholders in the second week of August.

In Viet Nam:

A technical consultation workshop was organised to support stakeholders develop guidance for implementing workplace lactation programmes and salute the Viet Nam government’s Decree 145 on compulsory workplace lactation rooms among companies with more than 1,000 employees.

In Zimbabwe:

In Zimbabwe, parliament is leading by example. After pressure from the SUN Civil Society Alliance, ZCSOSUNA, the Government has set up a feeding room for nursing mothers in parliament to support female parliamentarians to adequately nourish their children during their first 1,000 days.


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