Skilful Parenting and agribusiness

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Skilful Parenting and Agribusiness: A Unique, Integrated, Scalable and Sustainable Solution for Ending Violence against Children

The environment where children grow up is of major influence on who they become later in life. Children that grow up in a nurturing, caring, safe and stimulating environment will have more chances to develop to their full potential than children who are growing up in a less supporting environments. A significant number of families in Tanzania are struggling because of multiple risk factors which are drivers of violence. For a significant number of families, poverty, violence and health challenges are part of their daily lives. ICS SP works with families, communities and other stakeholders to create better living conditions for children and their families so that they grow up happy, healthy and safe. At the heart of our efforts is the skilful parenting programme for parents to prevent violence against children and promote positive child development. These are coupled with agribusiness training programmes designed to promote farming productivity and increase family income.

Skilful Parenting is a unique evidenced based parenting program, specifically designed in and for the rural context of Africa. Its main goal is to work with parents to improve family life in a way that children will grow up to their full developmental potential. The program has a strong focus on preventing violence against children and promoting positive child development. Under the guidance of trained and certified community para social workers , parents learn more about child development, age appropriate parenting , and the risks of not providing adequate care and protection to children. Skilful parenting involves 12 weekly sessions delivered through parent peer groups. A context specific semi structured curriculum with 7 modules is used. This is combined with community awareness, dialogue and debating sessions.

The same families benefit from Agribusiness training programmes which provide farming families with training on modern agronomic practices, quality farm inputs (seeds and fertilizers) and services on credit, and a transparent market for their produce. The combination of agronomic products and services and market linkage has a positive impact on smallholder farmers’ yield and income. A sustainable increase in income, greater knowledge and improved parenting skills change how families function. Higher incomes reduce the stress of poverty and its effects of child rearing and protection; better parenting skills, knowledge on child development, age appropriate parenting and child protection strengthen family cohesion and improve parent’s self-concepts, ultimately having a favorable effect on children’s wellbeing and protection from violence.

The Evidence
Many families are benefiting from this unique combination of economic development and parenting support, ( which are two strategies within the INSPIRE package) and this combined approach is showing success- not only in fighting poverty, but also in promoting positive child development and reducing violence against children In 2014-2015 the University of Utrecht conducted a research on Skilful Parenting, where it concluded the program has a positive impact on parenting skills in general, it promotes family relationships, parent –child relationships and changes attitudes towards harsh discipline, corporal punishment and violence in general. In 2015 -2016 the University of Oxford together with National Institute for Medical Research NIMR and University of Glasgow conducted a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) on the effects of Skilful Parenting in combination with agricultural support for families. The results show positive results especially with regards to reduction of child maltreatment.

Parenting

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