About WABA – What We Do

Task Forces

These are the specialised support arms of the WABA network. The Task Forces are:

  • Code Compliance
  • Mother Support
  • Men’s Initiative
  • Youth Initiative
  • Gender
  • Research
  • Women & Work
  • Health Care Practices
  • Global Advocacy
  • Local Governance


Code Compliance

To promote implementation of the International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes through training, development of legislation, production of materials and monitoring Code compliance.
Coordinator: Annelies Allain, ICDC/IBFAN Malaysia
Co-coordinator: Carol Bartle (New Zealand) , Norma Escobar (USA)


Mother Support

To promote linking of mother support groups worldwide; enable them to train counselors and to expand the number of groups; to create the appropriate environment of awareness and support for a mother to initiate and sustain breastfeeding .

The History of the WABA Mother Support Task Force (MSTF)

For as long as the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) has been in existence, the MSTF has also existed, as it was one of the original task forces that were created at the founding of WABA in New York City, USA, February 15, 1991.

Various non-governmental organizations and individuals had been invited by UNICEF to meet in New York City to talk about what had already been accomplished for the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding and to brainstorm how everyone could work together to continue and strengthen these efforts. WABA was the result!

Beth Styer from Pennsylvania , USA was representing La Leche League International (LLLI) at this meeting and was tapped to be the first coordinator of a task force that would address mother support activities, based on her experience in working with mother support. The MSTF was denominated “Mother Support Groups.”

Through the next 16 years, as with anything that develops and evolves , the task force went through name changes and different coordinators were appointed by WABA. From August 2000 to the present time, it has been known as the Mother Support Task Force. Coordinators and co-coordinators through the years have been Nair Carrasco , Peru ; Paulina Smith , Mexico ; Rebecca Magalhães, USA and Prashant Gangal, M.D., India.

Task Force Highlights are:

The Mother-to-Mother Support Activity Sheet, 1992
The Global Initiative for Mother Support (GIMS for Breastfeeding), 2000
Conference on Mother Support, Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia 2002
GIMS Conference, Lima Peru , August 2002
The MSTF E-Newsletter, begun in 2003 and currently published in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese
Mother support participation in the form of workshops at the WABA Global Forum I in Thailand, 1996 and the Global Forum II in Tanzania, 2002
Collaboration in the development of a breastfeeding and working book “Hirkani’s Daughters” published by La Leche League International
The State of the Art of Mother Support Summit, Chicago USA 2007
Currently, the GIMS Statement is being revised and updated and actions coming out of the Mother Support Summit are being implemented. To join the MSTF and participate in its activities, request information or make an inquiry, email Anne Schaerer-Batterjee
<annebatterjee@gmail.com >

Contact details:

Paulina Smith: smithpc@att.net.mx
Rebecca Magalhães: rmagalhaes@llli.org
Prashant Gangal: psgangal@hotmail.com
Co-coordinators: Puspha Panadam , Paraguay
Prashant Gangal, India
Member : Rebecca Magalhães, Mimi de Maza
Honourary member: Paulina Smith


How it all began….WABA began contextualising breastfeeding from a gender perspective in 1993, spearheaded by the Women and Work Task Force. WABA.s activities on gender and breastfeeding include:

  • 1993 WABA launched World Breastfeeding Week 1993 theme on Mother-Friendly Workplaces and produced action folder Women, Work and Breastfeeding .
  • 1994 Produced Activity Sheet #4 on .Breastfeeding: a Feminist Issue. Participated in the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Cairo.
  • 1995 Produced World Breastfeeding Week 1995 action folder Breastfeeding: Empowering Women Participated in the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.
  • WABA.s Women and Work Task Force has special focus on women working and breastfeeding in informal sector.
  • 1996 Dr. Vanessa Griffen, Coordinator of the Gender and Development Programme of the Asian and Pacific Development Centre, made a plenary presentation on the issue of gender and breastfeeding at its Global Forum 1 in 1996 in Thailand.
  • With its Ten Links project started in 1996, WABA sought to reach out to women’s groups to strengthen a gender perspective in breastfeeding advocacy.
  • 1997 Mother-Friendly Workplace Initiative: Ten Community Experiences -a report of seed grants for innovative initiatives in promoting mother-friendly workplaces during 1994-1997.
  • 1998 Link 3 – Women’s Empowerment serves as a discussion paper to debate and clarify many issues of common concern to breastfeeding advocates and women’s organisations.
  • 1999 WABA is actively involved in the Maternity Protection Coalition and worked towards recognising breastfeeding as a women’s right in the text of the revised ILO Maternity Protection Convention C 183.
  • 2000 The International Women Count Network (IWCN) participated as a core partner for the first time in WABA.s Global Partners’ Meeting in Brazil.
  • 2001 Articles and publications on a gender perspective in breastfeeding were prepared and distributed at international and regional meetings and to WABA network partners.
  • 2002 In September, WABA organised four workshops with the theme – Outreach to Women’s Groups at its Second Global Forum in Arusha, Tanzania, drawing a lot of interest from women’s groups, health groups and breastfeeding advocates.
  • The final outcome was a strong statement and a recommendation to set up a Gender Working Group.
  • The Second Global Forum also saw the birth of the Global Initiative for Father Support (GIFS) which aims to encourage male involvement in supporting breastfeeding and other reproductive activities.
  • 2003 WABA, on behalf of the Maternity Protection Coalition published The Maternity Protection Campaign Kit: a Breastfeeding Perspective .
  • A second seed grant project was undertaken to promote mother-friendly workplaces and maternity protection during 2000-2003.
  • 2004 The Gender Working Group was set up and began various activities, including its first gender training workshop in Nov/ Dec. in Penang.
  • 2005 The Gender Working Group produced three publications: Breastfeeding as a Reproductive Health and Rights Issue ;    Against All Odds: Gendered Challenges to Breastfeeding , and Grinding Realities: Women and Breastfeeding in the Informal Sector .

It also conducted several gender training workshops for breastfeeding advocates in North America, Africa and Latin America.


The Gender Working Group has planned several activities in the following areas:

1. Information Exchange & Outreach
2. Publications
3. Gender Training
4. Research & Monitoring
5. Advocacy/Networking
6. Workshops/Meetings.
7. Networking with Men’s Groups

Working Group
The WABA Gender Working Group is Coordinated by
* Paige Hall Smith, University of North Carolina,USA

and Co-Coordinated by
*James Achanyi Fontem, Cameroon, Africa

It works with partners in both the women’s movement and the breastfeeding movement in different regions.

The Core Gender Working Group includes;

* Asian and Pacific Resource and Research Center on Women (ARROW), Malaysia
* Centro Feminista de Informacion Accion (CEFEMINA), Costa Rica- Marta Trejos
* Society for Health Alternatives (SAHAJ) , India – Renu Khanna
* Centre for Health Education, Training and Nutrition Awareness (CHETNA) , India.
* Latin American and the Carribean Women’s Health Network (LACWHN) , Nicaragua -Ana Maria Pizarro
* People’s Health Movement (PHM) , Nicaragua- Maria Hamlin Zuniga
* Anthropology Department, York University, Canada-Penny Van Estrik
* WABA’s Men’s Working Group, Cameroon, Africa- James Achanyi Fontem
* Training and Assistance for Health and Nutrition (TAHN) Foundation, Bangladesh- Rukhsana Haider
* Paige Hall Smith, University of North Carolina, USA
* WABA Secretariat, Malaysia- Sarah Amin, Amal Omar-Salim and Naweed Harooni


Marta Trejos : martatrejos@gmail.com

Paige Hall Smith : phsmith@uncg.edu

Renu Khanna : sahajbrc@yahoo.com

WABA Secretariat,Penang;  Naweed : naweed@waba.org.my


Mens Initiative

The core group of the Men’s Working Group comprise of participants from the two recent WABA international workshops on youth, and gender, many of whom were recipients of WABA Youth Fellowship, and WABA GIMS and GIFS seed grants programme.

The MWG were able to meet three times prior to and over the course of the WABA Gender Workshop (between October 13-19 2006 in Penang, Malaysia) to develop its draft vision, mission, goals, objectives and action plan. The MWG was given time to present its work at a plenary session of the Gender Workshop. At the end of the day, a “recruitment” meeting was carried out with the participants of the Gender workshop, which resulted in increasing the members of the MWG.

After the completion of the Gender Workshop, the MWG core group met to establish its structure and communication plan, and to refine and prioritise its action plan. An e-list was immediately set up for the core group to facilitate regular communications. As a result, the proposed Men’s Working Group (MWG) was formally established.

. To include fathers in ante-natal, delivery & post natal services interventions and parental education;
. To develop country profiles which will provide a global snapshot of men’s participation in the feeding and care of infants and young children;
. To disseminate specific knowledge about the advantages of father involvement to all parents;
. To improve linkages with related target groups, particularly men’s groups, to promote father support;
. To advocate for legislation in support of maximum participation of men in childcare and parenting; and
. To act as a stimulus so that the establishment of Father-Support initiatives are increased globally.

You can join the WABA Men’s Initiative!
Please download and complete the form below and return to WABA’s email.

Men’s Initiative Endorsement form


Coordinator: James Achanyi-Fontem, Cameroon
Per Gunnar Engblom, Sweeden
Ray Maseko, Swaziland
Qamar Naseem, Pakistan
Arturo Arteaga Villarroel, Mexico
Peter Breife, Sweden
Jose Quiros, Costa Rica
Santiago Vallone, Argentina
WABA Secretariat:Malaysia : Program Coordinator for Men’s Initiative: Naweed Harooni


Youth Initiative

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action relies on young advocates to help support and promote breastfeeding in their communities. The WABA Youth Initiative is a global programme open to any and all young people who are interested in reaching out to their community and spreading the word on “Why Breastfeeding Matters!”

Many young people believe that their age and lack of experience prevent them from making a real difference for breastfeeding and mother & child health. On the contrary, young people are already active within the 5 social domains: the family, public sector, school, workplace, and cyberspace. Through these domains, young people have found a number of ways to engage their peers in advocacy and become active participants in the global breastfeeding movement.

Youth for Breastfeeding – Around the Globe!

Check out what’s happening in your region and how you can get involved!

Latin America
Middle East
North America



Health Care & Research


WABA Health Care Practices Task Force (HCPTF)

The objective of the Health Care Practices Task Force is to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in the community, in clinics, and in hospitals through networking and collaboration with organisations, governments, and individuals.

The HCPTF provides information and shares updates on breastfeeding-related issues e.g. Baby-Friendly (Hospital) Initiative, Human Milk Banking, Birth Spacing & Breastfeeding, Birthing Practices & Breastfeeding, Complementary Feeding, HIV & Breastfeeding, and breastfeeding counselling

WABA HCPTF recognises that protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding begins during pregnancy and is enhanced through the labour and birth experience. This task force will link with various organisations like BAMBI (Childbirth/Breastfeeding Foundation), WEDO (Women Environment and Development Organisation) and ICM (International Confederation of Midwives), among others.

Specific advocacy goals include fostering support of:

  • The Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative’s Global Criteria for Mother-Friendly Care.
  • The International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative
  • Millennium Develop Goals 1, 3, 4, 5, & 6

The late Mary Kroeger, BSN, CNM, MPH, past chair of WABA’s Health Care Practices Task Force quotes in her book Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding: “Advocate for the mother-baby continuum by taking the stand that breastfeeding cannot be the “physiologic norm” without including “physiologic childbirth” and immediate and uninterrupted mother-baby contact.”

Meet the HCP Task Force and People

WABA Health Care Practices Task Force is now being helmed by Marina Rea as Coordinator, and co-coordinated by Asha Benakappa and Rae Davies.

Marina Ferreira Rea is a Medical Doctor and a specialist in Human Lactation with Wellstart International.
She has a Master and Doctorate Degree in Preventive Medicine, with research studies on breastfeeding. She is currently working at the Institute of Health, S.Paulo, Brazil, and is a member of the Brazilian National Breastfeeding Committee within the Ministry of Health. She was a former Medical Officer at WHO in Geneva, responsible for breastfeeding activities and is a member of scientific societies such as ISRHML and Pediatric Association, and a member of IBFAN and WABA, where she is the Coordinator of the WABA Task Force on Health Care Practices.

Dr. Asha D. Benakappa is currently working as Professor of Pediatrics at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute and has been promoting breastfeeding for the past 25 years in various capacities.She joined the WABA Health Care Practices Task Force in 2009.

Asha is the Bangalore city co-coordinator for the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) and has succeeded in certifying all Corporation Maternity Homes UNICEF Baby-Friendly. She is a National trainer for the infant and young child feeding consultant course, trainer for gender issues in breastfeeding and has conducted thousands of workshops for health workers and communities on breastfeeding. She has also written a book titled Breastfeeding, the basic instinct, published a paper in the May 2003 issue of Indian Pediatrics – New-Lactation technique to breastfeed asphyxiated babies, and has developed a flipchart in both English and the local language to reach community members. She has won several awards from BPNI and is a founder trustee of the NGO Lactation Helpline.

Rae Davies, BSH, CD (DONA), LCCE, IBCLC, is the WABA Health Care Practices Task Force Co-coordinator.
For over thirty years, Rae’s professional career has been dedicated to childbirth and breastfeeding education. Along with providing training programs for doulas, childbirth educators, midwives and nurses, Rae serves as the Administrative Director for the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organisation, an NGO whose purpose is to promote 10 Steps to Optimal Maternity Care in order to save lives, prevent illness and harm from the overuse of obstetric technologies, and to promote health for mothers and babies. Rae also serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery.

WABA Expanded BFHI Working Group is Co-coordinated by Miriam Labbok and Felicity Savage. The Secretariat liaison for this working group is Amal Omer-Salim. It works closely with the HCP Task Force to share on those breastfeeding-related issues.

Miriam H Labbok, MD, MMS, MPH, IBCLC, FABM, is a professor of Maternal and Child Health and director of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) at the University of North Carolina.
Previously, Dr Labbok served as Sr Advisor for Infant and Young Child Feeding at UNICEF and Chief of Nutrition and Maternal Health at USAID, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins and Associate Professor at Georgetown University where she was Director of the WHO Center of Excellence on Breastfeeding. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, and Tulane University. She was a resident in pediatrics at Georgetown and a post-doc in epidemiology and preventative medicine residency at Johns Hopkins. She has >35 years of research, technical assistance, training, program and policy development experience related to maternal/child dyad health, reproductive health and nutrition in >50 countries, is known for her contributions to the development and testing of the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM). She has published more than 300 chapters, articles, monographs, and abstracts, has presented hundreds of invited lectures and seminars, and has received many honors academia and professional organizations. She is a founder of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

Felicity Savage lived and worked as a pediatrician in developing countries for a total of 18 years, in Zambia (1966-72), Indonesia (1972-78) and Kenya (1979-84).
During that time she worked in community paediatrics with a particular interest in nutrition; and has written books, developed courses and other training materials, and taught health workers about breastfeeding.
From 1993 – 2001 Dr. Savage worked as a Medical Officer with WHO in Geneva, in the Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development where she was responsible for the promotion of breastfeeding, policy development and training, including the area of HIV and infant feeding. She continues to promote breastfeeding with particular concern for education and training of health professionals. She is Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Centre for International Child Health, Institute of Child Health, London, where she is founding Director of the annual Breastfeeding: Practice and Policy Course. She is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP), Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine (FHPHM), Fellow of the Royal College of Paeditrics and Child Health (FRCPCH), Fellow of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, and Fellow of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics. She was a pioneer in the development of the breastfeeding movement in the 1980s, leading up to the formulation of the Innocenti Declaration in 1991 and the inception of WABA, and she continues to undertake consultancies in all regions, for NGO’s as well as for UNICEF and WHO, mostly relating to health worker training in breastfeeding and related subjects. She is currently Chairperson of the WABA Steering Committee.

WABA Education & Training Working Group is Co-coordinated by Audrey Naylor and Anwar Fazal; its members are Felicity Savage, Mirim Labbok and Raj Anand. The Secretariat liaison for this working group is Amal Omer-Salim. This working group coordinates and facilitates the education and training of personnel in the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.

Audrey Naylor, President and CEO of Wellstart International, is a board certified pediatrician with additional training in infant development, maternal and child health and epidemiology.
In addition to receiving a degree in Medicine from the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, she also holds a DrPH in Epidemiology (with a major focus on perinatal care) from UCLA School of Public Health. She has a lifetime professional interest in maternal, infant, and family health promotion, preferring to prevent rather than treat disease. In 1985, she co-founded Wellstart International, a nonprofit organisation established to educate health care providers (medical and nursing students as well as perinatal specialty residents), in the “why and hows” of optimal infant and young child feeding. She has been instrumental in both international efforts to promote breastfeeding as the normal and optimal way to feed infants and young children and is a founding member of the World Alliance of Breastfeeding Action. She is currently a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics (Voluntary, part-time) at The University of Vermont College of Medicine.

Anwar Fazal is the Chairperson Emeritus of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA),
and has been a driving force in the founding and growth of WABA and also various international NGOs, such as the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), Health Action International (HAI), Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and Citizens International. Anwar’s contributions in the areas of consumer health, environment, human rights and peace issues have brought him local and global recognition, among them the Right Livelihood Award, popularly known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” the Global 500 Award by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Mother Earth News Hall of Fame, The Gandhi-King-Ikeda Community Builders Peace Award, and Honorary Doctorates in Law and Philosophy. He also serves as Chairperson of the Malaysian Interfaith Network and the Taiping Peace Initiative. He was a co-founder of Transparency International Malaysia, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and a former President of the International Organisation of Consumers Unions (IOCU) and the Environmental Liaison Centre International (ELCI).

Anwar was trained in Economics and Education and has worked in teaching, local and state governments and for 12 years with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on urban governance issues in Asia and the Pacific. He is currently, a Professor and Director of the Right Livelihood College (RLC) based at the University Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang, Malaysia.


The WABA Research Task Force

The WABA Research Task Force is now being helmed by Amal Omer-Salim as Coordinator and Khalid Iqbal as Co-coordinator.

Specific objectives of the Research Task Force

a) to disseminate research findings relevant to the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding

b) to prepare briefing papers

c) to stimulate and support applied research important to the goals of WABA and as expressed in the Innocenti Declaration

Amal Omer-Salim also serves as a Senior Technical Advisor to WABA. Amal is a nutritionist by profession and is based at the Dept of Women’s and Children’s Health at Uppsala University, Sweden.

She has been involved in the education and research programs at Uppsala and has published two scientific articles which are described briefly below. Her main interests are in the field of infant and young child nutrition, the socioeconomic factors related to nutrition and more recently in the field of gender and nutrition. For many years, she has been working as a consultant to the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida. Amal has been working with WABA and its Core Partners in the ILO Campaign for Maternity protection for working women and is now working with WABA on coordinating the Health care practices area, amongst other things. The Logical Framework Approach and other results-oriented methodologies are of great interest to her as well as finding time to balance being a working mother of three children!

The two published articles which were part of her licentiate degree at Uppsala University are as follows:

  • Whom can I rely on? Mother’s approaches to support for feeding:
    an interview study in suburban Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
    Omer-Salim A, Persson LÅ, Olsson P Midwifery. 2007 Jun;23(2):172-83. Epub 2006 Oct 17
  • How do health workers balance infant feeding and employment?
    Amal Omer-Salim, Pia Olsson African Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health,
    Vol. 2, Iss. 1, 18 Jan 2008, pp 46 – 52

Dr.Khalid Iqbal is the Co-coordinator WABA’s Research Task Force. He is basically a clinician, currently working as a Neonatologist in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Dubai hospital Dubai United Arab Emirates.

He has extensive experience in management of child health and infant nutrition issues. He is a Lactation Consultant, BFHI assessor and BFHI trainer as well.

Dr. Khalid has been affiliated with many regional and international organisations and contribute significantly in promotional activities and advocacy campaigns. He is a member of Advisory Committee IBFAN Arab World, Executive Coordinator of Gulf Alliance of Breastfeeding Advocates (GABA), Code Coordinator UAE Lactation Consultants Association. He had been approaching many formula companies with strong letters based on scientific evidence and compelled them to stop unethical and unscientific claims. One of the letters was published in The Lancet under title “Unethical promotion of Lactose Free Formula” .

Dr.Khalid is the author of many scientific papers either published in international journals or circulted online and has written two books, “Our Children are at Risk” and “The Basics of Human Lactation”.

He is a well-known speaker and presented many topics at international platforms in USA, Germany, Australia and middle east countries.




Women and Work Task Force

History of Women and Work Task Force
In 1991, the Innocenti Declaration [3] called on national governments to “[enact] imaginative legislation protecting the breastfeeding rights of working women and [establish] means for its enforcement”. This action prompted WABA to start the Women & Work Task Force. In 1993, the “Mother Friendly Workplace Initiative” was launched as the World Breastfeeding Week theme. Later WBW themes especially relevant to breastfeeding women at work were the 1995, “Breastfeeding: Empowering Women”, and the 2000, “Breastfeeding and Human Rights” themes. In 2000, the International Labour Organisation adopted a revised Maternity Protection Convention No 183[4] and Recommendation No 191[5], stipulating women’s right to one or more paid breastfeeding breaks during the workday or a shorter workday and recommending facilities for breastfeeding at or near the workplace.

WABA’s Women and Work Task Force :

  • Acts on the belief that integrating breastfeeding with other forms of work requires strong policies and actions that protect and fulfill women’s rights, including the right to breastfeed.
  • Supports the development, adoption, implementation, and monitoring of strong maternity protection laws and regulations, as well as the ratification of C183.
  • Supports the development of Mother/Parent Friendly Workplaces and encourages local action on behalf of women in the entire range of work situations, including women working in marginalised sectors, to empower them to realise their human rights as workers and mothers.
  • Advocates for greater recognition for the value of breastfeeding just like the work that women and men do for pay. Human milk should therefore be valued in the system of national accounts.
  • Explores questions of gender equity and the human right to breastfeed.

Maryse Arendt
WABA, Co-Coordinator for Women & Work Task Force
Maryse is from Luxembourg. She speaks English, French, German and Luxembourgish . She is a trained teacher and is an IBCLC lactation consultant and a child birth educator for more than 20 years now.

She was one of the founding member of Initiativ Liewensufank in 1986, which is an NGO to promote, protect and support breastfeeding and change conditions around birth and parenthood. Since 1997 she is the director of Initiativ Liewensufank.

She has worked and volunteered extensively in the fields of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, biomonitoring of breastmilk, child rights, gender issues, parenthood, BFHI and maternity protection. She was the Luxemburg coordinator of WHO coordinated survey of POPs in human milk and member of WHO human Milk Survey Advisory Group. She is the national BFH coordinator and an external assessor for BFHI. Her association is a member of ENCA and IBFAN

Has been a scientific consultant for various NGO’s and is experienced in attending World Health Assemblies, WHO/FAO Codex Alimentarius Commission and other Codex committee meetings. She is the current ILCA Liaison to Codex Alimentarius.

She has given input and reviewed the Maternity Protection Resource Package ILO 2012

She is now appointed as Co-coordinator of WABA Women & Work Task force from September 2013.

Viana Maza, Guatemala
WABA, Co-Coordinator of Women & Work Task Force
Viana Maza is a Guatemalan woman 36-years- old and mother of Ariana (11) and Luca (4). In 2002 she graduated from the University as a Clinical Psychologist and was subsequently specializing in perinatal psychology. She facilitated working mothers support groups for ten years. In 2009 received an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to study a Masters degree in European Community Health and Welfare at Universidad de Barcelona, Espana. Her research topic she worked on was about how women feel during labor . She also began to study another Masters degree in Planning and management policies and child feeding programs at Galileo, a Guatemalan University.

She was a Doula and she funded the fist Doulas School in Guatemala (Intuición Materna). Currently working giving support to women and families during pregnancy, preparation courses for childbirth, as well as support during labor and postpartum. Manager of “Intuición Materna” , who was born of the need to create a kind of motherhood at home space, and is the platform from which she led the doula school. She also works to provide emotional and therapeutic support as a psychologist in the different stages of parenthood . Diversity of specialized topics such as, working single mothers , infant feeding , ways of baby carrying, free movement , fathers and society , perinatal death and healing workshops.

She also teaches at universities such as the School of Intercultural Approach to Professional Midwifery in Guatemala.

In 2009, she was invited to participate in the Meeting about gender and lactation in New Delhi India , representing the youth of Latin America . Since then, he has traveled several countries, including Costa Rica , Chile and Colombia , sharing gender issues focused on motherhood and women’s empowerment.

She participates in important global issues networks working motherhood. She is part of the team of The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action – WABA , as Co- Coordinator of WABA Women and Work . She is also part of IBFAN , WABA Youth, RUMBA and is the coordinator for Guatemalan Doula Network of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Faithfully believes that mothers are able to know about their babies needs, as long as society gives them what they need to live on welfare .
Previous Coordinators of Women & Work Task Force
Christine Mulford
Chris entered WABA’s life in 1996 at the first WABA Global Forum in Bangkok. She became a regular long term volunteer for WABA – involved particularly in writing and documentation of a host of conferences, meetings and task force reports. Chris had been a Coordinator of WABA’s Women and Work Task Force since 2000 bringing many achievements in supporting working women to breastfeed globally.

Chris was an LLL Leader for many years. She worked in the field of lactation since starting as a hospital maternity and nursery nurse in 1975. In 1985 she was in the first group who took the exam to become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). Her final job was with the Regional Breastfeeding Initiative for WIC, coordinating a staff that assists low-income women with breastfeeding. She served on the board of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) for 5 years and has been on the IAC of WABA since 1997.

She passed away on 23 August 2011 in USA.

Ines Fernandez
Ines is the Executive Director and pioneering founder of ARUGAAN in Philippines and a Board Director, Education for Life Foundation in the Philippines. Ines runs a crèche for babies and toddlers of working parents and uses indigenous foods and breastfeeding. She also teaches Food & Culture at the Education For Life, a Filipino-Danish folk school. She also rehabilitated babies and toddlers who were abused and abandoned, placed under the care of Child watch Centre in the Philippines. She applied breastfeeding through wet nursing and indigenous healing food in their rehabilitation and found that these babies and toddlers recovered well.

She had been a Co-Coordinator for WABA’s Women and Work Task-force until 2011 & now moved on to other projects.

Elaine Petitat-Côté
Elaine Petitat-Côté is both Canadian and Swiss. She is bilingual i.e. English & French. After studying Spanish in Barcelona, she studied history at the University of Geneva, majoring on issues centring on women and work at the turn of the 20th century. She also did research on the history of nursing and of medical institutions in Canada.

A large part of her professional experience has been acquired working for NGOs and associations in the areas of women and development, regional development, development studies and health.

She joined IBFAN-GIFA at the end of 2000 and has been focusing on:
– Human rights and more specifically child rights and the Convention of the Rights of the Child(CRC) review process: presenting IBFAN alternative reports to the Treaty Body and obtaining recommendations for better policies and practices on infant and young child nutrition – to be implemented at national level. She also trains breastfeeding advocates in this field;
– Maternity Protection at the workplace, centring on ILO conventions and national legislation. She has been involved with WABA’s Women and Work Task-Force for many years and worked closely with various WABA core members to develop campaigns and advocacy tools and impart trainings; she has also been instrumental in developing training modules on Maternity Protection.

Presently, she is the Coordinator of WABA’s Women and Work Task Force since 2011.

WABA Secretariat
Amal Omar Salim, Naweed Harooni, Sarah Amin


Health Care Practices
To promote health care practices in hospitals and in the community that protect, promote and support breastfeeding according to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Statement on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
This task force will link with various organizations working with human birthing, mother-baby friendly maternity care health professional associates & individuals (doctors, midwives, nutritionists, nurses, community promoters, & other health workers) on information, capacity building, advocacy & outreach.
Marina Rea, Brazil
Asha Benakappa, India
Rae Davies, USA

Global Advocacy

To advocate on critical, urgent and emerging issues and to reach out to other stakeholders in order to promote the objectives of the GSIYCF, Innocenti Declarations and MDGs.
Patti Rundall, UK
JP Dadhich, India.

Local Governance

To assist the Secretariat with its specific functions to meet with its legal requirements, attend statutory meetings and to advice on links with local groups.
Siti Norjinah Moin, Malaysia
Balkees Abdul Majeed , Malaysia
Zaharah Sulaiman, Malaysia



Country Contact

Country Contacts are basic for WABA, many of whom are already linked to WABA core partners. They are individuals and organisations who are committed to an open and inclusive process involving inidividuals and organisations who protect, promote and support breastfeeding ; and who want to play an active role in WABA.

WABA aims to have as many as possible country contacts. No one organisation or individual is necessarily the exclusive representative of WABA in any given country. They

a. abide by WABA’ principles as stated in the Endorsement Form;
b. act as distribution centres and facilitators for WABA activities in the country.
c. will be identified through a consultative process in coordination with Regional Focal Points and Core Partners, especially in large countries to enable more efficient communication.

WABA recognises the importance of National Breastfeeding Alliances and to encourage their development as country contacts. (See below Guidelines on Forming National Breastfeeding Alliances). National groups are advised to inform the WABA Secretariat of their intention to form a National Breastfeeding Alliance and to act as a WABA Country Contact.

Guidelines for National Breastfeeding Alliances:

WABA advocates alliance building among all supporters of breastfeeding. The initiator of a national network affiliated to WABA should be committed to an open and inclusive process involving all individuals and organisations who protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

There can be more than one WABA country contact, to enable more efficient communication. No one organisation or individual is the only representative of the WABA network in a given country. It may be desirable to have several contact persons, identified thorough a consultative process, especially in large countries.

All members of a national breastfeeding alliance affiliated to WABA must abide by the principles stated in the WABA Endorsement Form.

National Alliances for Breastfeeding should not use name of WABA, but other names (e.g. the Malaysia Alliance for Breastfeeding Action – MABA) and have their own structure and autonomy. They will be known as WABA Country Contacts.


WABA Endorsers or Participants

To become a WABA participant, an organisation or individual should fill the WABA endorsement form for individual OR WABA endorsement form for Organisation and return a copy to the WABA Secretariat. This will ensure that you are on WABA’s regular mailing list. As an endorser, you have a right to nominate Steering Committee members.



(country stated is current domicile)

  • Audrey Naylor (USA) IAC co-Chair
  • Raj Anand (India) – IAC co-chair
  • Virginia Thorley (Australia)
  • Prof Talukder (Bangladesh)
  • Zafrullah Chowdhury (Bangladesh)
  • Cesar Victora (Brazil)
  • Jairo Osorno (Colombia)
  • Armida Fernandez (India)
  • Song Vokyung (Korea)
  • Anne Devereux (New Zealand)
  • Maria Zuniga (Nicaragua)
  • Ann Marie Widstrom (Sweden)
  • Roger Shrimpton (UK/Switzerland)
  • Richard Jolly (UK)
  • Mary Renfrew (UK)
  • Anthony Costello (UK)
  • Naomi Baumslag (USA)
  • Marian Tompson (USA)
  • Sharyle Patton (USA)
  • David Clark (USA)
  • Nomajoni Ntombela (South Africa)
  • Penny Van Esterik (Canada)
  • Beth Styer (USA)
  • Ruth Lawrence (USA)
  • Nand Wadhwani (India)
  • Elizabeth Mason (Switzerland)
  • Pauline Kisanga (Swaziland)
  • Ted Greiner (South Korea)
  • Laurence Grummer-Strawn (USA)
  • Elise Van Rooyen (South Africa)
  • Anna Coutsoudis (South Africa)
  • Anne Baerug (Norway)
  • Ines Fernandez (Philipines)
  • Wendy Oody (Australia)
  • Ellen McIntyre (Australia)
  • Rufaro Madzima (Zimbawe)
  • Sallie Page (UK)
  • Margaret Kyenkya (Uganda)
  • Elisabeth Kylberg (Sweden)
  • Sandra Lang (UK)
  • Ellen Girerd-Barclay (Sweden)
  • Rebecca Magalhaes (USA)
  • Leonardo Mata Jimenez (Costa Ric)
  • Betty Crase (USA)
  • Mona Al-Sumaie (Kuwait)