The Sharjah Child Friendly Office (SCFO) has organised a series of consultation sessions with entities accredited and registered with its Sharjah Baby Friendly Project, in line with its efforts to evaluate its progress, and explore ways to expand its scope. The office conducted four consultation sessions, five meetings, and a series of field visits to Baby and Mother Friendly health facilities, nurseries, workplaces and public places. Launched in 2011 and implemented under the supervision of SCFO, the ‘Sharjah Baby Friendly’ project aims to create a supportive environment for nursing mothers and foster a culture of breastfeeding in the emirate, through four accreditation initiatives: Baby-Friendly Health Facilities, Mother-Friendly Workplaces, Mother and Baby-Friendly Public Places, and Breastfeeding-Friendly Nurseries. Consultative sessions and visits took place across various locations and cities within Sharjah and were held in the presence of Dr. Hessa Khalfan Al Gazal, Executive Director of SCFO, and SCFO officials, who met with over 312 officials, and childcare experts from accredited and registered institutions. Dr. Al Gazal said: “The consultation sessions and field trips are part of our efforts to explore ways to develop more effective mechanisms to implement our project in collaboration with the entities which have received the project’s accreditation, with aims to expand the impact of the project and promote its vision to provide quality childcare and ensure family and community well-being.” “The visits were undertaken with the aim of identifying key challenges faced by the accredited entities and to assess their training and capacity building to improve employees’ skills and competency, including workshops and specialised courses. We also discussed a series of proposals to develop the project further,” she added. Previously known the Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign, the SBF Project was launched in 2011. The project succeeded in introducing the concept of a ‘Baby Friendly City’ after the successful implementation of four initiatives: Baby-Friendly Health Facilities (based on the global Baby-Friendly Hospitals Initiative), Mother-Friendly Workplaces, Mother and Baby-Friendly Public Places, and Breastfeeding-Friendly Nurseries. These initiatives were implemented simultaneously across the emirate, for the first time in the world. These efforts have led to Sharjah’s nomination as the world’s first Baby-Friendly City in December 2015 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF.

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