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Research in the Philippines and scaling up ICDP

ICDP chairperson, Nicoletta Armstrong, received an invitation to present ICDP and take part in the online presentation of the report about the impact of the parenting programme that is implemented by Save the Children and partners. The online event was held on the 18th of March 2022 and it was attended partly in person, and partly through Zoom.

The report presented the results from a quasi-experimental (pre- and post-intervention assessment) evaluation of a parenting programme delivered to the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in the Philippines. The 4Ps is a nationwide conditional cash transfer programme aimed at breaking intergenerational transfer of poverty by supporting poor households with cash transfers and encouraging them to invest in the health, nutrition and education of their children. This study followed 465 dyads of children and caregivers for a period of 13 months. Of the 465 dyads, 232 dyads formed part of an intervention group that received the ICDP parenting programme in addition to the 4Ps cash transfer, while 233 dyads in the comparison group only received the cash transfer.

Results overview:

1.More caregivers in the intervention group are engaged with their children’s social-emotional learning development than caregivers in the comparison group

2.Caregivers and children in the intervention group also reported a greater reduction in their use of maltreatment than the caregivers and children in the comparison group after participating in the  intervention

3.Improvement in social-emotional development for children in the intervention group greater than the improvement for the comparison group

After the presentation of the study findings by Anmol Kamra, (a researcher and consultant at the World Bank who conducted this study), there followed a space for comments by various representatives from different regional and national government departments, who shared positive comments and expressed serious intentions for scaling up in the Philippines the parenting package that includes the ICDP programme. Two hundred government employees are already beginning their training in ICDP, attending courses run by ICDP certified trainers.

Click here to read the full report.


A story from ICDP Afghanistan

My name is Ahmad Saeed and I am working as a trainer in mental health. I am actively involved in the Positive Parenting Project of the International Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

As part of the Positive Parenting Project, I had a chance to participate in the ICDP training, which was very useful and practical. Topics that we discussed in the training were interesting. I could see the impact of this training in my daily life; it brought about significant improvements in my relationship with my two children, both under five years old.

Here is an example of the way ICDP affected me:

After a busy day, I went home with the intention of taking a good rest, but when I got home, my six-year-old child Erfan, was crying and screaming. I was hoping to find some peace, but instead I was faced with this unsettling situation. I tried to calm my son, but the more I tried, the more he seemed to cry and scream.

I found this situation very stressful. I could feel myself becoming very anxious and angry. For a few moments, I considered using violence, but the thought of my work the goal of which is to reduce violence against children, stopped me. I thought about the ICDP training and asked myself what does my child need from me now, what should I do to help. This helped me to overcame my anger and I turned to my son and started to talk to him calmly, asking his what was the problem. I listened carefully to what my son had to say. His whole face was wet with tears and his body was shaking. I hugged hin gently and placed his head on my shoulder. I then began caressing his head.

In an upset voice, he explained that he was really hungry but there was nothing to eat as the food was not yet ready. I reassured him: “That is not a big problem sweetheart, come with me to the kitchen – you and I can quickly make something delicious to eat”. While preparing the food, I was talking to him in a soothing manner. My son soon calmed down completely and after he had his food, we started to talk and play together.

I realized the power of the ICDP sensitive approach. I could see how important it is to be patient with children, how talking and playing together with children produces shared closeness; and how effective attentive listening and dialogue is in overcoming problems.  I realized that I had learned a new skill – later in several other stressful situations, it helped me handle the problems in an appropriate way.

Since then, I have realized that even some small changes in behaviour can improve adult-child relationship, and that the effectiveness depends on our ability to apply them at the right time.

A big thanks to the ICDP team for their wonderful training, which had a positive impact on me and others in my community.


Report from the Philippines shows significant results

In 2021, the COVID – 19 restrictions posed many challenges, during the third year of ICDP implementation in the country. Lockdowns disrupted mobility in the field. A feeling of anxiety spread among people, including staff, who became fearful about being contaminated by the virus. On top of that, the typhoon Rai affected many parts of the Visayas region. But these challenges also revealed the effectiveness, relevance, appropriateness, scalability and sustainability of the parenting programme. The structures and mechanisms established by the parenting programme on the ground were effective – people did it.

Read the full report.


ICDP achievements in Bangladesh

ICDP was making good progress in Bangladesh in 2021.

In 2021 many activities were disrupted due to COVID-19, but despite this the ICDP team managed to organize and carry out training of three groups of facilitators. As a result, 209 caregivers and 425 children w.ere reached by the ICDP courses.

Click here to read their 2021 report.


First systematic study of the impact of ICDP on children

Save the Children have produced a new study, and this time the study looked at the impact of ICDP on children. Many thanks to Disa Sjoblom who has been the driving force behind this work and also the whole team in Save the Children Nepal that has been rolling out the ICDP programme as part of their parenting package. Their excellent work is reflected in the evaluation results:

Click here to read the study.

The highlights are:

  • Parents/ caregiver became more engaged with their children
  • Maltreatment by caregivers reduced
  • Children’s development across all early childhood domains improved, i.e. social, emotional, cognitive, language and motor development (age of children 0-5)
  • There were improvements in nutrition practices but the time was probably too short to have significant impact on nutritional outcomes 
  • Children from smaller families and boys had higher development gains (which means that we must pay more attention to gender inequalities in parenting and ensure that parents engage with all children) 
  • Children who had more frequent exposure to psychological aggression and neglect by parents/ caregivers had smaller development gains

ICDP with young people in Colombia

During the autumn months in 2021, an ICDP sensitization project took place at the Amanecer International Centre, near the city of Armenia in Colombia.

The project was attended by vulnerable young people, mostly adolescent mothers who were also part of a programme called “Daughers of Peace” of the GHFP Foundation. The participants included 19 young people with ages between 18 and 25 years old. Some of them already had children. Seven participants came with children who attended the nursery at the Amanecer Centre during the period the project lasted, whereas the children of three other participants were not present; two of the participants were in the state of pregnancy. The ICDP trainers, Carmen Lucia Andrade and Blanca Cecilia Garcia, explained about the ICDP process:

We noted that working on the concepts of parenting and exploring local cultural practices in group, gradually strengthened the young participants’ self-esteem, by recognizing the importance of their role as mothers and identifying what good childcaring means. They saw the importance of leaving good memories for their children and not repeating difficult processes they had themselves experienced when they were growing up, that there is no room for abuse and violent behavior. They explored how we relate to children in our culture and explored and evaluated the typical concepts and prejudices.  We enhanced positive aspects of local child rearing culture through dances, telling stories and playing games, which made the participants understand their value in parenting. Reliving good memories of their childhood made them understand their own children better. Daily interaction was valued for the creation of affective bonds through good treatment of children in everyday situations. Gradually the participants became aware and understood why it is necessary to make positive changes in relation to their children. They began to show their ability to express themselves affectively with their children and made efforts to increase their moments of closeness with them. They discovered that they must participate and join their children’s experiences, follow them and guide them in the discovery of the world, with patience, attention, dedication and enthusiasm; that they can help the development of intelligence in their children. They became determined to completely avoid hitting children and to stop screaming at them, realizing the damage such actions cause to the physical, emotional and mental development of children. They explored, practiced and demonstrated their ability to regulate their children’s actions in a positive way. The ICDP process guided them to conclude that it is not difficult to have good dialogues and communication in their daily interactive moments with their children and that with a little bit of awareness and patience a great deal can be achieved towards a happy and harmonious relationship. Participants were motivated to sustain and enrich learning. The self-assessment scale using the 8 ICDP guidelines as criteria for self-evaluation was explained and the interaction profile of some participants was made. With one of the mothers, we illustrated in depth how one can make one’s own interaction profile and then based on it we discussed how to make a strategy for future improvement of those aspects that had a low rating in the interaction profile. We asked participants to answer a few questions as a general evaluation at the end of the course, which confirmed that our work had a positive impact on this group.

Click here for full report with participants’ evaluations.


Study finds ICDP programme works

Participation in parental guidance groups leads to increased coping in parenting and an improved relationship between parents and children, according to a new study of the ICDP in Norway conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Design: RCT study, the families who participated in the study were randomly drawn to be either in the intervention or control group

Read the study: Efficacy evaluation of the International Child Development Programme (ICDP)

Parental guidance is a widespread measure – offered to parents who experience challenges related to having children, and preventive to parents who do not experience this type of difficulties. In Norway, many parents take advantage of the offer in the municipality in which they live.

From 2017-2021, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has conducted a study of the most widespread public parental guidance programme, the International Child Development Programme (ICDP). The aim of the study was to find out what effect the program has in Norway, and to investigate whether the ICDP can contribute to a positive change in the role of parents, strengthen the relationship between parents and children, and improve children’s well-being.

The study looked at the “standard version of the ICDP,” which targets the entire population. The ICDP is also offered to specific groups, which this study has not investigated.

The study shows that ICDP guidance has a positive effect on parents and the relationship between parents and children. The study found that parents feel safer in parenting after participating in the ICDP programme.

“The parents report that they feel closer to their child, experience less conflicts about child rearing in the relationship, and have a more supportive parenting style after completing ICDP guidance, compared to the control group that was not part of the programme,” says project adviser Eia Elena Skjønsberg.

Illustration photo:

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Danish report

This year as well, our ICDP work has been influenced by COVID-19, but despite the difficulties in dealing with the pandemic, we have had a growing interest in relationship work over the last 2 years. The progress has been so significant that it has been necessary to involve new forces in our administration and management.

Working professionally with human interaction requires empathy and sensitivity, because only then can we be touched and moved by other people. All our activities are permeated by this perspective and are based, among other things, on the assumption that relational conditions are dynamic and changeable. With the help of the eight themes for good interaction, we can strengthen the good life for children and young people through the togetherness and upbringing of the new generation. We are proud to be able to contribute to this important task through our management of the heritage from Karsten Hundeide.
On behalf of the Danish Center for ICDP
Anne Linder and Jens Linder

Click here to read the full report about the activities in Denmark in 2021

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News from Pargas

In the small village of Pargas in the south west of Finland, a new group of local professionals completed their training in the ICDP basic programme and received their certificates on the 11th of November, 2021. The group was multi professional consisting of people from child protection, speech therapy, nursing, psychology as well as day care and school personnel. The course was conducted by two ICDP trainers, the early childhood special educator Jaana Tirkkonen and the psychologist Petra Zilliacus.

“Some lovely and lively discussions were held, especially about the impact of the caregiver’s view of the child and what it means to truly meet the child as a person.” – says Petra Zilliacus.

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Finnish Federation takes a new step forward

In Finland, the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters has been using the ICDP programme for seven years now. The Federation is a non-profit NGO, their webpage:

The Federation provides assistance to victims of domestic violence; it works on child abuse prevention and offers help to expectant mothers suffering from substance abuse. Their expertise is based on close cooperation with members of the association offering assistance to families in difficult situations, by tackling their grievances and offering solutions. Considerable efforts are made to make the voice of families with children heard and the emergency recognised in the social debate. They gather and publish information on the circumstances of families in difficult positions and influence central government and municipalities to take families into account in decision-making.

The Federation counts on groups of ICDP facilitators who apply the ICDP programme with parents and children. In November, a group of ten professionals who have all been working as ICDP facilitators for some time, embarked on further training to become ICDP certified trainers. The ten facilitators attended the Trainer level workshop from 1-3rd of November 2021, conducted online by Nicoletta Armstrong. The training will continue in person, in 2022.

Having trainers is important for the Federation, because trainers will be engaged in forming new groups of ICDP facilitators inside their networks of care – in this way, the ICDP programme will be sustained and as a result more families will be reached in years to come.