Jyry Virtanen via web
The project reached 28,181 (15,208 F/ 12,973 M) children aged 0 to 8, and reached 251 community based ECCD centers to improve the knowledge and skills of children and to promote the rights of the children to education, health, protection, nutrition and play. In addition, 33,196 (21,635 F/ 11,561 M) mothers and fathers participated to different project activities and 601 (413 F/ 188 M) child development promoters (CDPs) were trained in the project. The programme takes a holistic approach to early childhood development concentrating not only on early childhood education, but also on nutrition, health, gender, inclusion and resilience.
With the support of the project, 651 sessions have been held with parents and primary caregivers on early childhood development, child protection, positive parenting, gender and resilience, amongst other themes, and 3463 pregnant women have improved knowledge about prenatal control, prenatal care, and nutrition. Within families, mothers, fathers and primary caregivers increasingly apply non-violent parenting methods based on a dialogue between the parents and children.
Specific attention has been paid to fathers’ participation to childcare and child development. Workshops have been organised for the parents, public servants, communal authorities and Child Development Promoters, with the objective of providing training in active fatherhood and gender equality, focusing on the expression of affection for the children. Specific strategies have been implemented to reach more men; for example men have had a greater participation in implementation of the family vegetable gardens, hence the moments have been used to address child development related topics. In the municipality of Icla, fathers have been involved in prenatal sessions under the concept “the men are pregnant as well”, increasing fathers’ participation significantly.
Family workshops were organised, in which the mothers and fathers prepare didactic materials and fun materials to stimulate the psycho-social development of their children (ecological parks, using tires, bottles, stones, wood, iron, chains, bricks, sand and other inputs). Using recyclable materials, they make ABCs, numbers and geometric figures to provide stimulating learning material for the children.
2 015 kitchen-gardens have been established since the beginning of the project. The family vegetable gardens have also benefited the participation of mothers, fathers and primary caregivers in workshops and fairs on nutrition, in which they learned how to prepare nutritious meals with local products and soybean. Malnourished children have been identified in the project communities and referred to adequate services.
Trained volunteers support the project objectives in different ways to improve the early childhood development at community level:
Community volunteers have identified children with disabilities within the project communities and referred them to adequate services, and campaigns realized with Municipal Authorities and authorities responsible for the services for disabled persons have resulted in children with disability being issued identification cards. The work with disabled children will be further strengthened in the coming year.
Community based child protection networks are active in many of the project communities, and they organise trainings, peer-learning and home visits related to the children’s rights, as well as assist reporting cases where the rights have been violated.
The skills and capacities of Community based Child Development Promoters (CDP) present in the project communities were improved through trainings and exchange of experiences for the promoters. The CDPs in general, are well respected in the communities and are being recognized by the local authorities for the work they do as reference persons in the community on integrated child development, gender, protection from violence and health, being in charge of vaccination campaigns, communal meetings and fairs.
The public servants (health, education, protection and municipal authorities) have improved their knowledge of integrated early childhood development (IECD), the early detection of children with a disability, nutrition, gender, protection, positive discipline, family vegetable gardens and Foodborne Illness (FBI), which has contributed to the improved attention to services related to early childhood development. In total, 1,401 public servants participated (827 women and 574 men) in the trainings.
Work with local and regional authorities has been a key element to achieve many of the results. The project coordinated its activities with the District Education Directorates for the preschool teachers and the teachers of the first grade of primary school to perform a psycho-social assessment of the children at least twice a year and for this activity to become part of the classroom plan.
The project supported an adaptation process of an early childhood education curriculum to indigenous language and culture in three different areas; Aymara, Quechua and Chiquitano. In coordination with the Educational Councils of Indigenous People (CEPOs) and municipal authorities, workshops were organised to operationalize the regionalized curriculum for preschool level. The curriculum should be fully operative in 2017.
The municipal authorities in the project area recognize the importance of investing in Early Childhood. In line with this, they have also allocated financial contributions in their municipal Annual Operational Plans. There have been three accountability events during the reporting year to demonstrate the progress towards the project results, raise awareness and ensure more involvement and appropriation from the project beneficiaries. The active involvement of local authorities have been one of the success factors of the project.
The project identified a number of interventions that require further attention in 2017;