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A father playing with a small child on a mat. Credit: Bishnu Prasad Ghimire
Source: Bishnu Prasad Ghimire

Integrating responsive care and early learning into existing health and nutrition packages can amplify the impact for both nutrition and early childhood development (ECD) outcomes.

To address gaps in existing nutrition counseling packages, USAID Advancing Nutrition worked with an external technical advisory group of experts in ECD, nutrition, and social and behavior change to develop counseling and training materials, known as the Responsive Care and Early Learning (RCEL) Addendum package. The content of the RCEL Addendum package focuses on promoting responsive care, responsive feeding, and early learning; monitoring children’s development; promoting and supporting caregiver well-being; and supporting children with feeding difficulties. The package is designed to support community-level counselors and health providers as they provide individual counseling and/or group sessions that encourage these high-priority caregiving behaviors for improved ECD outcomes. 

The RCEL Addendum is a global package that gives programs the flexibility to adapt the materials to different country contexts and audiences by adjusting the content and delivery modalities. It can be added or integrated into existing child health, nutrition, or infant and young child feeding (IYCF) counseling packages, including UNICEF’s Community Infant and Young Child Feeding (C-IYCF) Counselling Package, which is the model for the RCEL Addendum.

What Is Included in the RCEL Addendum?

The foundation of the RCEL Addendum is a set of seven illustrated counseling cards that include key messages and practical tips for counselors to share with caregivers. The counseling cards are complemented by job aids for counselors on topics such as steps for structuring counseling visits and tips to support children with disabilities during counseling sessions. The package also includes training materials—a facilitator’s guide, training aid, and participant handouts—and a guide for planning, adaptation, and implementation. All images used in the RCEL Addendum package are also available through the IYCF Image Bank.

To learn more about how to use the RCEL Addendum watch this short video!

Explore Resources by Language

The RCEL Addendum is available to download and adapt in English, Arabic, French, Russian, and Spanish.

Responsive Care and Early Learning Addendum guide thumbnail


الأب يلعب مع طفل صغير.


 Père jouant avec un petit enfant.


 Отец играет с маленьким ребенком.


 Padre jugando con un niño pequeño.


View Country Adaptations

The RCEL Addendum has been adapted for use in Ghana and the Kyrgyz Republic (available in both Kyrgyz and Russian).

Ghanian father playing with his small infant.