ICDP Finland report

Update by Pamela Antila, ICDP Finland chair:

ICDP Finland has been active for ten years now, year 2021 being its tenth year in operation. Much as during 2020, the COVID pandemic and the resulting restrictions have impacted our activities greatly.

The association has not been able to offer any trainings. Organizations around the country have also had trainings and groups largely on pause.

However, ICDP Finland has now been able to focus on its membership activities. We have 55 registered members and starting from September we have arranged a virtual ICDP morning coffee for members once a month.

ICDP Finland has also taken part in ICDP Norden (Nordic) board meetings and will continue the collaboration with the other Nordic countries.

The association has a registered and active website and is also active on social media, mainly Facebook and Instagram.

We hope to return to normal operation during 2022, with physical trainings and a 10-year anniversary with all ICDP trained people in Finland.

The ICDP Finland association will continue to work on introducing and spreading ICDP in Finland in both official language (Finnish and Swedish) as well as developing the programme in Finland.

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Growth in the Philippines

Update from Zenona Gread, ICDP trainer and coordinator from Save the Children’s office in Ormoc city, Philippines, where the ICDP programme is a key component of the Child Sensitive Social Protection (CSSP) programme:

In May 2021, a total of 2,008 (1,404 females; 604 males) parents from nine barangays of Villaba (Hinabuyan and Sambulawan), Kananga (Lonoy, Naghalin, Natubgan and Poblacion) and Ormoc City (San Jose, Can-untog and Dunghol) graduated from the parenting programme.  Among the 27 children and youth who gave testimonies during the graduation ceremony, was the 16 years old Jobert Lebolora from Sambulawan, Villaba, who shared the following:

“I see a big behaviour change in my mother because of the parenting programme. She used to nag and shout when giving orders and she easily flared up when we asked her something. But I noticed that during the course of the parenting sessions, she has slowly softened. She doesn’t nag nor does she shout anymore. Our family has become peaceful. My mother and father don’t fight or shout at each other anymore. So, we children help do the household chores without having to be told.”

The qualitative study by an external consultant of the impact on fathers and children of the specially adapted parenting course for fathers, also revealed positive changes of behaviour.

Fathers said that the parenting sessions showed them how to show love and affection to both boys and girls, which they thought was only done by rich families. It made them realize that expressions of love and affection are for all and can be done by mothers and fathers. Here’s a personal account of one of the participant fathers:

“I used to come home from the fields tired and irritable, I even hit the children with a broom, pinched their ears and yelled at them for slightest causes. I didn’t notice their joy upon seeing me come home. They used to meet me and ask if I brought any frogs from the paddies; and when I didn’t, they would get so disappointed, ignoring me, finding any excuse not to do anything I ask of them. After participating in the parenting sessions, I realized I needed to reciprocate their eagerness and happiness on seeing me; and I realized later that that the frogs made them happy, that they liked playing with them, before we cooked them for dinner. Now I make sure to catch some frogs before coming home…”

The participant mothers expressed that they were not just witnesses to the shift in their husbands’ behaviour, but saw themselves as being part of that change. The positive change of their husbands’ behaviour was also an effect of their own change of behaviour through the parenting sessions they too attended.

A total of 64 Family Support Groups (FSGs) were formed as a sustainability and support mechanism of the parenting programme.  FSGs served as the venue for the parents/caregivers to review the parenting topics and continue their savings scheme, “Ang Pangarap kong Proyekto (My dreamed project”) through monthly meetings. FSG savings is a significant facilitating factor for children’s continued education amidst the pandemic. Most FSG savings were used for children’s school needs (Wi-Fi and mobile phones for online classes). A number of FSG members earmarked their savings for house repairs, medical needs of family members, house construction, washing machine, refrigerator, electricity installation, and livelihood capitalization for passenger tricycles, meat vending, hog raising and emergency purposes which also impact on the well-being of the whole family.

Another significant result of the project is that the parenting facilitators organized themselves into a formal cooperative whose aim is to carry on regular updates and reviews of the parenting topics, as well as managing their savings.

Other accomplishments:

  • Adoption of the ICDP parenting programme by Ormoc City Social Welfare Office as an implementation strategy of the “Ormoc City Children’s Welfare Code” for the 110 barangays of the city.
  • During the period between March and July 2021, the roll out of the ICDP parenting programme took place in Ormoc Barangays for a total of 135 parent participants (123 females; 12males)
  • Adoption of the ICDP parenting programme by DSWD – Region 8 as a social case management strategy of the Kilos Unlad (KU) framework [1] in implementation of the 4Ps law or RA 11310, for the whole region per agreement with 4Ps Regional Programme Management Office. Video documentation of the decision by the 4Ps Division Chief was sent to SC Finland.
  • In March 2021, ICDP Facilitator level training was given to 20 (15 females; 2 males) Provincial Links and Social Welfare Officers of DSWD – Region 8 Implementation
  • ICDP parenting programme graduation of 2008 (1,404 females; 604 males) 4Ps parent participants took place in May 2021.
  • ICDP Facilitator level training was given to 150 (130 females; 20 males) officers of the Provincial Links of 4Ps Region 8, as preparatory activities for Year 2022 KU framework implementation of the 4Ps.
  • Evaluations and reflections were carried out of the ICDP parenting programme roll out by the Ormoc City Social Welfare and Development facilitators

[1] KilosUnlad Framework, it is a 7-year modular social case management strategy that aims to guide the 4Ps households to achieve an improved well-being.

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Work with refugees in Stafford, England

October 2021

The Stafford Welcomes Refugees (SWR) Women Support Group has started to use the ICDP programme with some of the families it attends.

Stafford Welcomes Refugees (SWR) was set up in 2015 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis to press the UK to take its fair share of refugees fleeing war and persecution.

SWR offers general support to refugees with their integration into life in Stafford, and for this purpose it became a partner with Staffordshire County Council and its commissioned services from Refugee Action and Spring Housing for the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS).

ICDP trainer Michelle MacDonald was recruited by the SWR group in Stafford, to provide psychosocial support for the Middle-Eastern refugee community.

Michelle’s background in education and health, and her previous involvement in humanitarian work within crisis education for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, provides her with the appropriate experience for this new assignment by the SWR group in Stafford.

On 29th of September 2021, she has started to conduct an online course, which is providing refugee women in Stafford with an opportunity to share their experiences, challenges and successes within a safe and nurturing space. The course is taking the participants through the ICDP sensitization process to enhance their interaction with young children and adolescents.

In addition, they will be given tools to help them better adjust to their life in England and support their families as well. The role of women, their health and wellbeing, stress management and bridging the gap between the two cultures, are additional topics covered by the course.

The course is taking place over a period of three months, with 12 weekly sessions, conducted in Arabic and English.

WhatsApp is used for feedback on tasks assigned in-between the online sessions and for sharing of experiences around the key topics.

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Update from ICDP USA

October 2021.

Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation (CCWF) is happy to share news regarding the promotion and implementation of the “ICDP-USA: The Best Start for Families” Program among various communities who need support and information in parenting skills, communications, and strategy development.

New programs in 2020-2021 have included programming for parents with disabilities and virtual programming which already shows extremely positive parent outcomes.

Further, we have proudly presented the Program evaluation results focused on outcomes for Jail/Justice, Child Welfare-involved, and Families with Children with Special Needs. The specific outcomes of seven years of work with these populations were introduced at the 4th International Research and Practice Conference on Psychology in Education that was hosted by the Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia on October, 7-8. CCWF Executive Director, Dr. Kimberly Svevo-Cianci, was invited as a keynote speaker for the session devoted to psychological practices for solving socially significant problems.

Another Conference presentation made on behalf of CCWF was the school shooting theoretical review, “Invisible Answers: The Role of School Culture in School Shooting Genesis.” This work was started as a CCWF intern research project in order to treat school shootings from the perspective of the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) conception in order to define the possible ways of school shootings prevention.

CCWF is excited to have launched “The Best Start: All About YOUth” program which is an ICDP-based solution for teenagers (and their parents).

The purpose of “The Best Start: All About YOUth” is to help youth recognize and embrace their unique qualities. The program encourages youth to develop their voice while inspiring and supporting each other using empathy. Youth learn to strengthen relationships and to apply Restorative Practices towards social justice. In addition to “Student Workbooks” for Teens and Young Adults, “Coach Playbooks” are published and already available on Amazon and other selling platforms.

One more success is the “Five O’clock – Mindful Teatime”, a pilot project of ICDP online training for Russian-speaking families from all over the world. Considering the international specifics of the group, “The Best Start for Families” is a perfect match for the parents who define themselves as citizens of the world.

“The Best Start” is highly socially oriented, paying a lot of attention to health equity, social justice, and building cohesive communities that could provide decent support for families in their critical situations. Realizing themselves as a part of the community is one of the main needs for immigrant parents, and the first step for that is inspiring them to be socially active. Currently, the 16-sessions program was finished, and here is some feedback from parents:

“I liked that program provided me a lot of structured information, easy to understand, with examples; I’ve got a lot of support from the coach, and the atmosphere in the group and the feedback were very encouraging.”

“I found the session helpful and enjoyable, suitable for any parent interested in improving their parenting competencies and improving relationships with children.”

“I come to the group to learn again and again that I am actually a good mother. I don’t know how it works, but I really feel more confident!”

Finally, to keep in touch with ICDP parents and facilitators, CCWF has created “The Best Start Parenting Club” group on Facebook.

CCWF loves bringing people together and building strong and supportive communities because our vision is that for every child and adolescent to be supported in positive development by caregivers and professionals within loving, non-violent families and peaceful communities.

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ICDP break-through in German day-cares

Update about ICDP work by Rita Crecelius, ICDP trainer, October 2021

During 2021, ICDP became known to more day-cares in Germany.

  • In June, 18 members of the day-care team responsible for 88 children at the St. Thomas day-care, completed their ICDP caregiver training. They were proud to be the first day-care team in Germany to hold an ICDP certificate.

According to their leader Ana Vázquez-Zimmermann all team members reported that ICDP has been continuously enriching their everyday life. Some noticed that the crib familiarization was much more relaxed this year. Most colleagues think that the “view of the child” has become more natural and that they themselves no longer come under so much pressure in certain challenging situations.

Ana said: “We were also able to advance team development with the help of the ICDP guidelines. ICDP should be our second bible!”

  • In November 2021, I will conduct the first refresher course for the team at the St. Thomas day-care. The day-care belongs to “Kirchenkreis Hildesheim-Sarstedt”. This company is a provider of 22 day-cares in total and their interest in ICDP is growing there.
  • In May 2021, Impuls Soziales Management, provider of 40 day-cares all over Germany, started an ICDP pilot project in their “Kinderhaus Frech Daxe” day-care. This day-care has 50 team members in charge of 176 children, whose parents are working at VW Financial Services in Braunschweig. Two out of five groups of their day-care workers have already received their caregiver ICDP certificates. The pilot will be completed in January 2022. The feedback has so far been very positive. One of the day-care workers said: “It is incredible, how quickly and effortlessly are things changing for the better thanks to ICDP”.
  • In September 2021, I presented ICDP at a school for children with special needs and as a result, we are now planning a trial ICDP workshop for teachers.
  • I have previously conducted an ICDP course for caregivers of older people, which aroused a lot of interest in ICDP. This year I plan to hold another such course in November 2021, in Hameln – there have been quite a few registrations for it.
  • I was also approached to give a presentation about ICDP by a team from the Caritas Forum Demenz organization. They are specialists in geriatric psychiatry and organize training for carers of older people and people with dementia, in the Region of Hannover.
  • Bunte Gruppe is a free, non-institutional body providing training for carers from different fields. In July 2021, I completed the training of 6 carers, Bunte Gruppe 3. I have also been training Bunte Gruppe 4, consisting of 7 carers, including two from Austria – their training will be completed in November 2021. This is my first ICDP hybrid-training: Four of the participants attend the workshop in person, whereas the other three are online and appear on the screen – so this is my first ICDP “hybrid training”. The whole group is interacting well, participants are building bridges between the virtual and the real world – this is an interesting experience in itself!

The technical equipment for this kind of “hybrid workshops” is facilitated by a network of creative professionals called KreHtiv, in the region of Hannover. In spring 2021, they started a “Fond for Digitization” to which I applied; I was successful and received a financial contribution thanks to which I was able to establish ICDP online events in a professional way. This has enabled me to reach more participants – thank you KreHtiv!

Throughout 2021, I discovered that day-care workers in my country welcome ICDP and are eager to work with the relational approach.

Therefore, my plan for 2022, is to train key persons in day-cares as ICDP coaches. Their task will be to support colleagues and teams, so that they keep on expanding the ICDP approach in their daily routines.

My goal is to anchor the relational perspective in a sustainable way in the work of professional caregivers. In this way, we can develop resilience in both children and their caregivers – resilience being a key factor in times of uncertainty and social change.

An expert of the World Health Organization said: “ICDP is food for a healthy brain”. This food was tasted by quite a large number of children’s caregivers in Germany during the course of the year – and it seems they wish it to become their regular diet.

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Progress in Burkina Faso

October 2021

Update from Aubin Sanou, ICDP trainer and educator at Save the Children Burkina Faso (SC):

The ICDP activities are going well here on the ground. As part of the project activities, I have trained three new facilitators at SC, as well as a group of ten new facilitators, who are implementing the ICDP progarmme through different organizations in partnershiop with SC.

The new team of facilitators participated in the ICDP work of the old team of facilitators, by accompanying them in their field work. This made the process of their training a lot easier.

Alimata Sidibe who has been working closely with me as an ICDP trainer, has left SC; however, the new facilitators received coaching from other technical advisors at SC who had previously received training in ICDP in 2020.

During the training I used simulations of ICDP meetings with caregivers, in order to observe the application of the seven principles of sensitization – and this was useful as a method of learning.

The evaluation of the training was positive, all facilitators found ICDP training and its topics relevant to their work. Some of the comments from trained facilitators:

“Very impeccable training. This will allow the parents and ourselves to live better in our families. Congratulations to the trainers and to all the participants.”

“I learned a lot from this training. I will try as best as possible to implement the programme.”

“I was very happy to have taken part in this training because it enlightened me on a lot of things. I udnerstand parenting skills very well now.”

“I especially liked the group work because it made it possible to apply the training received in a concrete way.”

“The trainers have the right techniques to get the message across.”

“With regard to the content of the modules, this training must be perpetuated even after the project finishes. Also, a good follow-up will allow it to be extended to other programmes or projects.”

“The training was beneficial; it fulfilled a real need – greatly appreciated.”

“The training was really good; we received a lot of knowledge on parenting skills. This knowledge on parenting skills, this knowledge will be applied in the field. Thank you so much.”

“The training was well worth it. The programme was enriching.”

“The 8 guidelines and 7 principles of the ICDP programme will help us develop a good emotional, social and constructive relationship with children.”


Learning by creating, new project in Medellin

The latest project by the ICDP Antioquia team of trainers, which has been planned with the Culture Secretariat of the Municipality of Medellín, was started in September and will end in December 2021. It involves the “Deambulantes” theatre company, whose artists are trained as ICDP facilitators.

The project consists of developing experimental laboratories for early childhood. These creation laboratories focus on “learning by creating” and seek to promote meaningful practices in child-adult interaction, by using different modalities of art and play (the body, sound, image, movement, literature, etc.) for cognitive, behavioural and emotional development in line with the ICDP programme.

This process is carried out in six areas, namely in the communes 2,9,14,16 and 80 (San Antonio de Prado district) and in the commune 90 (Santa Elena district). The project beneficiaries are the children who attend the Buen Comienzo preschools (the Good Start Programme) which is aimed at children aged between 3 and 5 years.

Each laboratory is attended by twenty (20) children, that is in total one hundred twenty (120) who will benefit from the project.

As a strategy, there are didactic materials, materials from the environment, organic elements, toys, recycling material. In addition, a backpack is used containing a booklet designed for the development of creative experiences of each child, including the topics and guidelines of the ICDP programme, as well as a puzzle game with the central message of each laboratory.

 At the same time, trainers will be working with the children’s parents introducing them to the programme with its eight guidelines for good interaction.


The ICDP team in Antioquia has been sending encouraging messages to facilitators and parents all throughout the pandemic using various social networks. These positive ICDP messages reached a large number of families over the past months.


Progress in Russia

During the pandemic, ICDP has continued to be implemented in Russia, however this did not take place in person but in a distance format. We conducted ICDP training for the students specializing in Crisis Psychology at the Minin University, in Nizhny Novgorod, via the Zoom platform. And we were also able to use this platform to train groups of parents as well.

During the pandemic, we created and published a table game called Empathy, which helps to develop the emotional intelligence of children, parents, as well as specialists. The game is based on the model of emotional intelligence as an ability developed by D. Mayer, P. Salovey, D. Caruso and the model of emotions by R. Plutchik.

During the autumn of 2021, new face-to-face meetings with specialists and parent groups were started.

We have also prepared a new brochure with the main principles of the ICDP programme for our ICDP work in Russia.

Oksana Isaeva, ICDP Russia representative and trainer


New pilot project in El Salvador

On 16th of September 2021, two education officers from UNICEF El Salvador, Marta Navarro and Marta Gomez, organized a virtual meeting with Nicoletta Armstrong, ICDP, in order to report and discuss about the progress of a pilot project, in which the ICDP programme is one of the key components. Another important topic addressed in this pilot is gender equality. This project, whose aim is to reduce violence against children received sponsorship from the EU and it represents cooperation with the Spotlight organization. It will end in December 2022.

Liliana Reyes from the Instituto Salvadoreño para el Desarrollo Integral de la Niñez y la Adolescencia – ISNA, (Salvadoran Institute for the Comprehensive Development of Children and Adolescents) also participated in the meeting. She reported that the implementation of the ICDP programme was executed by ICDP trainers and ICDP facilitators from ISNA and the NGO called EDUCO. ISNA has been working with ICDP for over ten years and in line with their policy all ISNA personnel receives ICDP training.

The municipalities in 3 areas covered by the pilot were prioritized on the basis of high levels of violence recorded in families and the community, exacerbated by gender issues concerning women and girls. The 3 areas are San Salvador, San Miguel and San Martin. The execution of the project plan took place in close communication with the local governments.

In the first phase of the project, ICDP was delivered to parents of adolescents and in the second, adolescents will facilitate the programme to other adolescents. The second phase is currently under preparation and will be starting in 2022.

Due to the pandemic, both the training and the roll out had to be modified to include virtual media. This proved to be a great learning. The ICDP trainers and ICDP facilitators received training in person as well as online – they would log on the new platform where all ICDP materials were presented in a didactic format to facilitate learning step by step. The new platform was prepared specifically for the training of trainers and facilitators, but not for the work with parents. Parents of adolescents attended the ICDP meetings in person and received follow up via WhatsApp and Zoom.

In 2021, the parents of adolescents who participated in the project were the same parents who had in previous years received the ICDP programme but at that time it was ICDP in the modality designed for parents of young children. This continuity of ICDP delivery was intentional as a long-term strategy. A special effort was made to involve both sexes in the project, which proved not to be an easy task.

The success of this pilot will be evaluated in its later stages, however, there are very positive signs already that it is working. Parents who never expressed loving feelings to their children, were now able to write warm letters to their children full of expressions of love and appreciation. Most parents said they did not know how to communicate with their children before ICDP and that the 3 dialogues have changed their lives. According to Liliana Reyes, the greatest impact on the lives of parents and their children came from the fact that in ICDP they had to apply and practice the 8 guidelines and then share with others their experiences – this practical aspect impacted the most.

The project met with technical difficulties such as difficult or no reception to talk using WhatsApp.

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New facilitators at Jusoor

Training 11 participants up tofacilitatorlevel in the Bekaa Valley, in Lebanon, 2020/2021.

Report by Michelle MacDonald

Location: The participants were teachers at the two educational centres (primary school level) run by the Jusoor organization, located in the Bekaa valley, which is home to a large Syrian refugee community.

Number of participants: The teachers (6 male+ 5 female) were Syrian refugees themselves living either in the camps or nearby.


My ICDP (face – to- face) sessions with this group started in 2020 but had to be interrupted due to the Covid situation- schools having closed their doors- and were only resumed(via Zoom) in April 2021, after I had moved back to the UK. Apart from the online sessions we formed an ICDP WhatsApp group in order to share insights, feedback on home tasks etc., particularly when the live sessions were not possible.

The problems faced by a displaced population, added to the intrinsic problems of a failing host state (Lebanon).  Covid was the last straw to an already deteriorating situation. This posed many challenges with delivering the ICDP training. Power outages and Wi-Fi interruptions resulted in sessions being cancelled at the last minute and then rescheduled only to encounter the same problem again. In spite of the numerous hurdles, the training (12 sessions) was successfully completed.


The feedback from the teachers was very positive in spite of all the difficulties. They were grateful for the opportunity that the ICDP training gave them to express themselves in a safe environment. They were able to share their worries, their everyday challenges of constantly having to adapt to changing circumstances, to the deep changes in their way of life since leaving their country, but they also talked about their successes and their resilience. They discussed the impact this has had on their values, traditions, on the changing role of women and how this has affected parental roles and interaction with their children. They reflected on their roles as teachers and shared their insights within the group. They explored together ways they could make some changes in the classroom and gave each other positive feedback. They were very keen to start delivering the ICDP training at caregiver level to the parents of the children they teach, and in fact 2 new groups have already been started. During my 4 years of working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon, I formed 17 facilitators (who are linked to SOS Children’s Villages and Jusoor) and 63 participants at caregiver level.