Early Child Development (ECD) Program
ECD is one of the three core programs of Future Hopes Integrated Development Organization/FHIDO) which focuses on under five-years-old children. The program is designed to have the best mix of strategies to combine both short-term (micro nutrient supplementation, targeted feeding programs) and long-term (income-generation activities, and education for behavior change) impact on the target children and their parents/caregivers.
Its intervention in the area of Early Childhood Development laid strong foundation in the overall growth and development of the target children. The technical and material support provided to target beneficiaries and selected ECD centers played significant role by creating accesses for preschool and improved the quality of service provided in government and community owned ECD centers. Besides, the health, sanitation and nutrition aspects the program intervention played significant role by decreasing communicable disses, malnutrition and child mortality rate in the target area.
Program Goal: Infant and young children aged 0-6 in four selected woredas of Arada Sub-city are well grow and develop to their full potential in safe and protective environment being cared by empowered and transformed care givers and communities.
1. To empower 60% of the target children parents and care givers that have adequate resources (time, money, knowledge and skills) for health, nutrition and ECE services for their IYC by 2018.
2. To improve access for Safe and caring environment that facilitates suitable conditions for development of IYC in the target areas by 30% until June 2018.
3. To increased access to quality health care and nutrition by 20% for enrolled infants and young children and expectant mothers who live in the four selected woreda’s of Arada sub-city. 4. To increased access to quality early stimulation for all enrolled children found in the four selected woreda’s of Arada sub- city by June 2018.
Achievement by Domain
Domain one: Empowered and responsive caregivers/ parents.
Pathway 1: Care givers livelihood security
Income generating programs
FHIDO have been engaged in identifying and forming marginalized community groups including care givers and parents to economically empower and become self-reliant. Hence, in this regard, after the business Selection Planning and Management (SPM) trainings, participants were made to prepare operational business plan to make them effective in their preferred business undertakings.
Based on their business plan, FHIDO was able to provide support for the trained family care givers to engage in their own business with the provision of material support to start business. Hence, so far 200 mothers and parents of enrolled children were provided with IGA start up material. The materials include washing machine, Chips maker, Injera and bread maker stove and onion chopper. The intervention in livelihood security of parents improved knowledge and skills of parents and care givers on saving and business management and increased accesses of enrolled children care givers and parents to microfinance institutions and IGA activities.
The IGA start up material provision enabled the beneficiaries to engage in their own preferred business and become self-supportive. Now most of them started to earn an increased income for the family and providing basic needs of their children. In addition, it empowered beneficiary women’s household decisions and bargaining power since they are becoming the breadwinner of the family and showing greater yield in tangible advantages of children since the preference of women are more weighted toward benefiting children.
Pathway 2: Decision making power of IYC caregiver
The organization conducted assessment on barrier analysis that affect women in decision making and rendered different training and awareness creation sessions for both women and male caregivers. As a result of the intervention, women decision making skill on household economic, health and children education improved significantly.
Pathway 3: Responsive parenting education and support
To achieve awareness creation and alter practices and behavior in a positive way with in the community on various issues like parenting skill, Harmful traditional practices and others social issues, FHIDO has created a platform for the community without leaving the living culture and environment of the community. Coffee ceremonies, home visit are one channel to get parents and caregivers of these children.
The coffee ceremony sessions have been undertaken during school time, whereby the sessions proceed while parents wait to pick their children from schools; at Village level with the participation of community setting and home level where volunteers provide need based one- to- one mentoring and coaching support to target families.
As a result of the coffee ceremony, FHIDO registered a number of achievements in the awareness and practice of parents with regard to child care and development and participation. Every week all parent groups come together as convenient place to discuss pertinent topics with little mobilization. Now many parents’ skills and knowledge on better rearing of children showed significant improvement. Their skills on how to talk to their kids, how to listen when they speak to their children and open and honest communications between parents and children, have been areas which improved and which enabled families to provide guidance for their child so that children become disciplined, respectful, love their parents.
The parental education enabled to recognize active male caregivers who have been participating in the series parenting skill sessions and applied the skills acquired from the session in their day to day life. Now male care givers started to actively participate in the coffee ceremony, which was not the case before and they even started to provide care for their children in the house. Males started to shoulder some household chores, breaking the existing gender division of labor in home.
Parental involvement with children from an early age has brought improved outcomes in terms of cognitive development of children. Parents started to engage in assisting their children in their studies which resulted for better exam results and greater progress at school of children due to parental involvement in homework and reading.
As a result of parental discussions every week, they were able to find out children with disability, children who were not attending school and alleviate their problem. During their discussions, care givers /mothers were also able to freely express their feelings among themselves and share their built experiences with one another which created empowerment. During all these processes, FHIDO staffs have been closely following the process and providing all necessary supports for the smooth functioning of the sessions. To motivate and increase volunteers’ contribution, there has been continuous encouragement of volunteers through celebration of recognition day. So far 3500 male and female parents benefitted through the program.
Domain Two: Safe and caring environments for infant and young children
Pathway 1: Effective Community-Based Child Protection Mechanisms
Child protection units have been established in each project areas with the composition of relevant government bodies including the police, Women and Children Affairs, community representatives with the objectives of timely addressing the existing child rights abuses and ensuring child friendly protections. Hence, the functioning of these child protection units operating in the project areas were not adequately equipped with the necessary materials, support like computer, stationaries and capacity building trainings on standard operating procedure (SOP) provided for woreda child protection units and other concerned stakeholders. In addition, continuous community dialogues, campaigns and trainings have been provided to different community members on harmful practices which exist in the community.
As a result of the capacity support to Child Protection Units (CPU) and community members on harmful practices, effective networking and information communication channels have been established in addressing child abuse and neglect cases timely in project areas. FHIDO’s support for the CPU improved knowledge and practice of members of various child protection committees, and community members and strengthened reporting and referral mechanism to address cases of violence.
Pathway 2: Healthy Homes and Environments
FHIDO has been engaged in improving the awareness of parents, care givers and the school community on personal hygiene and sanitation. It has been using hand washing and environmental sanitation campaigns to create awareness of about 3000 care givers, students and the wider community and enhanced the practice of personal and environmental hygiene. It has also been constructing water points and providing water tankers which improved water supply for ECD centers. As a result of this, the mothers/guardians enhanced their practice to keep their children’s and their own personal and environmental health.
It also increased access to WASH facilities to access clean and safe water and prevented students and the wider community from water borne diseases and sanitation and hygiene practices of parents and care givers.
Domain Three: High Quality Health Care and Adequate Nutrition for Infants, Young Children and Expectant Mothers.
Pathway 1: Accessible Quality Health Care
FHIDO has been working to enhance access of infant and young children to preventive and curative health care through referral linkage and providing deworming tablets, medical support for under five children, conducting growth monitoring of malnourished children and creating awareness for expectant mothers on ANC, PNC and safe delivery as well as referring HIV positive children for ART and PMTCT support.
As a result of all these interventions, it was able to increase access of Infant and Young Children (IYC) to preventive and curative health care and ensure increased access of expectant mothers to ANC, PNC and delivery service.
Pathway 2:Adequate Nutrition for IYC and Expectant Mothers
FHIDO has been working to mitigate problems associated with under five children’s malnutrition and shortage of food at household level through conducting growth monitoring and provision of nutritious foods for malnourished children. Besides, different awareness creation sessions on exclusive breast feeding, permanent vegetable and gardening have been provided to target mother. Due to the intervention, it was able to get increased knowledge on nutrition needs of IYC and skills in preparation and feeding practices and also decreased the number of children who suffered by malnutrition and associated problems.
Domain Four: High Quality Stimulation for Infants and Young Children
Pathway 1: Access to High-Quality Pre-Schools
FHIDO has been engaged in improving access to pre-school education for its target groups through exerting its utmost effort to avoid physical and social barriers which exclude children from society and prevent them to get educational opportunities. It has been engaged to improve quality of education through consistent support to deprived and vulnerable children so that it ensured increase school attendance reduced drop out. As part of enhancing children’s education participation, FHIDO has provided educational materials support for all target children. Among the supports, it has been providing exercise books, pencils, school bags and school uniforms as well as transportation support for children with disability which alleviated scarcity of educational materials for DEV students and attend preschool education in different ECD centers and the transportation fee facilitated education access to children with disability as well as contributed to enhance retention of students in the Pre- school.
To motivate preschool students, FHIDO has facilitated prize award for outstanding students who have earned best grades during the past academic year. The prize awards encouraged and motivated students to be more competent in their education and score better grades for coming academic year.
Other than direct support to students, based on continuous assessment on the situation of early child hood education service delivery in its project areas, it has been providing support for ECD centers which includes bed sheets and mattresses, mats, tables and chairs, outdoor playing materials. Now students get napping service while at their stay in the ECD centers. The playing material was important because it helped children to learn and grow in a way that helps them feel good about themselves and help them develop skills they’ll use in their school years.As a result of chairs and tables support, it was also able to create proper learning environment through the provision of suitable chairs and tables for ECD students. Children now are able to play freely after class time through the creation of friendly learning environments in the school compound.
To create friendly school environment in ECD centers,FHIDO has been constructing play ground for the children during their stay in the school compound. Ramps were also constructed at the main gate and in every class room entrances. The sub base work labeled the compound of the school and now children can freely play in their out of class time.
As part of the capacity building of teachers, different capacity building trainings such as pre-school curriculum, teaching aid preparation, child centered teaching methodology and Aflatot child social and financial education have been provided to more than 150 pre- school teachers. The capacity building trainings enabled teachers to familiarize with new concepts and skills and apply in the teaching learning process in increasing the overall performance of pre-school students.
Since most of early child hood schools found in FHIDO’s project intervention areas were not well equipped with the appropriate teaching aid materials, FHIDO assessed the required teaching aid materials and provided material support for selected schools. The provision of these teaching aid materials helped to improve practical children’s learning process for which enhanced pre-schools’ learning ability on their fine motors. It also enabled to sustain the availability of teaching aids since most of the preschool teachers are producing the necessary materials by themselves
Pathway 2: Access to High-Quality Childcare Options
To enhance access to high quality child care options, FHIDO has been capacitating pre- school and woreda ECD committees through the provision of trainings on coordination of care, psychosocial support and national ECD policy and guideline. As a result of the training, ECD committee members got better understanding on identifying specific needs of children with disability, how to be attentive towards children and responding to their problems, and how to create favorable home setup so that children will express their feeling and needs.