An ICDP learning event

An ICDP learning event was held in Dungarpur, Rajasthan, India, between October 31 and November 2, 2018.

For almost two years now, Save the Children have been working on including the ICDP programme as one of the elements of their Child Sensitive Social Protection (CSSP). They selected the ICDP programme because of its focus on improving the quality of care for children and as a global parenting programme that has already been proven to be effective across several countries. By September 2018, Save the Children had implemented ICDP as part of their pilot parenting programme, in four countries: Nepal, India, Philippines and Somaliland. 

At the meeting in Dungarpur, participants (ICDP facilitators) from Somalia, Burkina Faso, Nepal and India gave presentation on their CSSP projects, and focused especially on their work with the ICDP programme which they have been delivering to parents in different communities. In all four countries, ICDP was used in parallel with nutrition, gender, child work, and family budgeting - all together they represent a larger parenting/child sensitivity package. The main idea of the learning event was to analyze processes of implementation and identify areas of strengths as well as ways to improve on the weaker points. The meeting was also attended by Nicoletta Armstrong, ICDP leader and by members from Save the Children Finland. One of the key organizers of the event was Disa Sjoblom from Save the Children India who is also an ICDP trainee trainer.

Participants agreed that the strengths of the ICDP approach were its simplicity, it is easy to learn, relevant for all ages, effective and culturally adaptable (for example, in Somalia, ICDP is seen as a culturally appropriate approach for Muslim context). Some of the challenges that were identified included: time needed to develop sessions, lengthy training process and drop-out of trained facilitators and caregivers.

The participants were divided into small groups to discuss training, implementation and scaling up, which was an opportunity to create future strategies for sustaining parenting groups and replicating the parenting programme on a wider scale. Some of the questions/comments that were raised during sessions:

• How to work and engage with national partner organisations? In Nepal, both partner and SC staff are trained at the same time and work in pairs in delivering the sessions. Same in Burkina Faso.
• To prevent drop-out of facilitators can you provide incentives (not necessary money)? In India, they are planning to ask the government to make parenting sessions mandatory for those who get the orphan cash transfer and also adjust special sessions for migrating populations. In the Philippines, parenting is a mandatory component of the social protection programme that CSSP focuses on.
• ICDP guidelines exist for the home visits that are to be followed. The gender of facilitators has so far not been an issue. In India the majority are male facilitators working well with women groups.
• Nicoletta emphasised that ICDP is a flexible approach and the details can be adapted by the facilitators to fit in with the specific group; facilitators and caregivers should be rewarded in some way; strategies should be developed to attract those who are more difficult to reach (e.g. fathers).
• Scaling up the ICDP approach – how to deal with the cost and capacity issues? Could we have a minimum package (minimum sessions needed) for scaling-up? India is already working on this. In South America, the adaptation was carefully prepared for successful scaling up; very good materials were important, as well as roll-out of good trainers as a mobile team. In-build system for follow-up and reward system are also important.

The general consensus among the CSSP project team members implementing ICDP sessions across Asia and Africa is that it provides an extremely constructive base for improving parenting. In all countries, a quantitative and qualitative pre and post assessment was carried out to understand changes in parenting practices after the sessions have been implemented with the parents/caregivers. The reports of results will come out by the end of 2018.