Fundasaun Alola established its Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Section in February 2003 through the creation of the National Breastfeeding Association (NBFA). In the same year, the Alola foundation began establishing the Mother Support Groups (MSG) as part of the ten steps to successful breastfeeding, which is connected with the Baby Friendly Hospital initiative.

MSG was initially developed to improve Children’s health and nutrition status in Timor-Leste through promotion of exclusive Breastfeeding and timely and appropriate complementary feeding up to two years.

In 2006, Alola foundation extended its MCH program to include maternity packs, women’s health and newborn care.

NBFA was handed over to the Ministry of Health (MoH) Nutrition Department in 2009. To facilitate the handover process, Fundasaun Alola has seconded a senior staff member for two days to work with the MoH. The staff member will assist in coordinating and organizing the implementation of Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), providing breastfeeding training for health workers and advocating for a breastfeeding policy and an international code for breastmilk substitutes.

Infant and young child feeding is a global strategy that was adopted by Timor Leste in 2006. It is now a national program at MoH under the Nutrition Department and Fundasaun Alola is responsible for running it across the country. Fundasaun Alola is involved in the training of health care workers in infant and young child feeding and Alola also established Maternal and Child Health Community-Based Groups, specifically Mothers Support Groups (MSG) and Suku Hadomi Inan no Oan (Village Loves it Mother and Children) (SHIO). These groups are the target to disseminate the information to encourage and support mothers to initiate breastfeeding immediately after delivery, to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life and to continue breastfeeding for at least two years along with introduction of appropriate complementary feeding,

Fortify the community member become critical with the deep awareness to contribute and taking the responsibility of Maternal and Child health issue within their communities are the strategies that adopted and applying by Alola Foundation in designing and implementing the activities in national and rural area.

Alola Foundation continue to support existing SHIO group members in municipality level by conducting monthly meetings, health promotion activities, cooking complementary food demonstration, community discussions, celebration of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) and counselling provisions at health facilities and SISCa posts.

The Darulete village, located at an altitude of 1264 meters and Vatuboro village are two of the locations that have benefited from the SHIO program and is an important part of the efforts of local communities who work voluntarily to improve the health of mothers and children.

This short documentation provides an overview of the efforts of the Alola together with SHIO group members in raising public awareness about maternal and child health in Liquiçá Municipality.