Scientific Evaluation of the Psychosocial Impacts of Baby Friendly Spaces

Lead Implementation Partner: Action Contre La Faim/Action Against Hunger
Lead Research Partner: 
University of Virginia, Johns Hopkins University
Displaced Rohingya mothers and their young children in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

Problem: Symptoms of depression during pregnancy or following childbirth are very common worldwide. During humanitarian emergencies, threats to child health and development are compounded by environmental stressors, such as poverty and exposure to violence, that place children at high risk for cognitive delays, mental health problems, physical illness, and malnutrition. Caregivers of young children also experience heightened risk of poor mental and physical health that may decrease their ability to buffer the impacts of environmental stressors on their children.

Question: This study evaluated Baby Friendly Spaces’ (BFS) effectiveness for improving conflict-affected mothers’ psychosocial well-being and supporting child development and growth among Rohingya mothers and children living in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

Design & Methods: ACF developed the BFS program, which consisted of three individual counselling sessions, as well as five individual or group psychosocial stimulation sessions. The study utilized a mixed methods approach. Effectiveness was evaluated with quantitative outcome measures for distress, functioning, subjective well-being, and positive coping.  Both qualitative and quantitative measures were used to evaluate implementation of the intervention.

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From the Field: Spotlight on Implementers

“Through this research project, I hope that Rohingya mothers who have mental and psychosocial problems will get better services and [that] we will gain more professional skills.” 

–Jannatul Naima, Psychosocial Worker, Action Contre la Faim, Cox’s Bazar 

This video shows the Baby Friendly Spaces intervention being implemented in the Rohingya refugee camps and includes perspectives from the psychologists, psychosocial workers, researchers, and administrators on site.

For more information about Baby Friendly Spaces, please email