Lagos, Nigeria – August 3, 2023 – As part of activities to celebrate the 2023 World Breastfeeding Week, FHI 360/Alive & Thrive, in collaboration with key stakeholders in Lagos have advocated for family friendly corporate workplace breastfeeding policies to ensure a supportive environment that enables and promotes six months exclusive breastfeeding for working mothers.
To raise awareness on this, it recently hosted an engagement session with leading corporate leaders in Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) member organizations and Human Resources Managers of large organizations in the private sector to promote family friendly workplaces and the utilization of the Workplace Lactation Toolkit developed by Alive&Thrive and the NECA Network of Entrepreneurial Women.
The event is in line with this year’s theme ‘Enable Breastfeeding, Making a Difference for Working Parents’. Through the sessions at the event, stakeholders hope to achieve the goal of making key actors in the corporate world understand the need for providing work place support to enable their families take good care of their babies. These include the provision of on-site crèches for their babies and six months paid maternity leave for working mothers.
Breastfeeding plays a vital role in the health and development of infants, providing essential nutrients and antibodies that foster their growth and protection against illnesses. However, for many working mothers, balancing the demands of work with breastfeeding can be a daunting challenge in part because of unsupportive breastfeeding policies. Many mothers are not able to exclusively breastfeed their babies because they have to return to work soon after having their babies.
Speaking on the event, the Alive & Thrive Project Director, Dr. Victor Ogbodo said “By empowering key corporate leaders across society, we can foster positive changes that support the well-being of working parents and promote the health as well as development of their children. Also, friendlier corporate workplace breastfeeding policies not only benefit the well- being of employees but also contribute to enhanced employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention.” he stated
Speaking at the event, Mr. Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, Director General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association also challenged more organizations to join the movement towards a more inclusive and nurturing work environment. “Creating a nurturing work environment for nursing mothers and their families is not only a social responsibility but also a key driver of employee well-being and productivity’ he added.
There was a panel discussion where organizations with baby friendly work places/employees shared their experiences. Motivational awards were also given to private sector organizations with six months paid maternity leave.