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Report from UNICEF El Salvador

The ICDP methodology “I am a Person too” is still going strong in El Salvador, thanks to the continuous support from UNICEF and the commitment from the Salvadoran Institute for the Integral Development of Childhood and Adolescence (ISNA). 

Marta Navarro, from UNICEF El Salvador sent ICDP a report in Spanish.

You can read it in English below:

METHODOLOGY ” I AM A PERSON TOO” OF ICDP IN EL SALVADOR
IMPLEMENTATION YEAR 2017

INTRODUCTON

El Salvador has made important advances in the institutional strengthening of the methodology “I am a person too”, which has allowed a greater expansion, guaranteeing awareness raising of more families in the country.
After the institutionalization of the methodology by the Salvadoran Institute for the Integral Development of Childhood and Adolescence (ISNA), “I am a person too” became consolidated as one of the methodologies that El Salvador is making available to strengthen the capacities of families and early childhood caregivers.

IMPLEMENTATION 2017

During 2017, the “Territorial Strategy for comprehensive early childhood care, with a focus on social inclusion” was consolidated in five municipalities in the country: Sonsonate, Santa Ana, Mejicanos, Ciudad Delgado and Soyapango. The strategy seeks to universalize training programs for families and caregivers of young girls and boys, through methodologies implemented by different government institutions. The ISNA joined this strategy and made the “I am a person too” program available to different agents at the local level who are working with families.

Within the framework of the Territorial Strategy, the ISNA managed to train 104 facilitators (85 women and 19 men) from government institutions (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, National Institute of Youth, National Council of Children and Adolescents, National Civil Police, Municipal Mayors, Rights Committees), NGOs and Foundations (International Plan, Salvador del Mundo Foundation-FUSALMO, Foundation for the Integral Development of the Family-FUNDIFAM, Asociación Nuevo Amanecer-ANADES and Asociación CINDE), University of El Salvador, Churches and community leaders. These trained facilitators used the program “I am a person too” in their work with families, and during 2017 managed to raise awareness of 253 families (233 women and 80 men participated), and 343 of their children (163 girls and 180).

In 2017, “I am a person too” was also included in the planning of a new project as a strategy for the prevention of violence against children, which aims to strengthen the work of the National Civil Police (PNC) . The plan is to build the capacity of the PNC personnel in ICDP, and include the program as one of the methodologies offered by this institution in relation to their work with families (both families of police officers and families of the communities they serve).

In addition to the above, ISNA has also implemented “I am a person too” in two of its institutional programs: 
1-. Strengthening of family relationships, where 1,889 families were sensitized (1,486 women and 403 men)
2-. Change Your Life Program, which sensitized 306 families (206 women and 100 men).                                   The total number of families reached: 2,195 families (1,692 women and 503 men) .

At the end of 2017, conversations began with Nicoletta Armstrong and with ISNA to adapt the methodology “I am a person too” for families with teenage children, as well as for adolescents (adolescent facilitators to deliver the program to other adolescents).


PROJECTIONS FOR 2018

The plan for 2018 is to implement the “Territorial Strategy” in six more municipalities, apart from the five in which it is already intervening, expanding coverage to more early childhood families and strengthening the development of more young girls and boys. The new municipalities are: La Unión, Conchagua, San Luis Talpa, San Miguel, San Pedro Masahuat and Santa Cruz Michapa. The aim is to form 240 new facilitators, and for them to raise awareness of 2,400 families.

Within the framework of the project to train the National Civil Police (PNC) in the methodology “I am a person too” as a strategy for the prevention of violence against children, the goal is to train 100 people (50 agents of the Prevention Division and 50 psychologists and social workers of the Police Welfare Division) who, in turn, will sensitize a total of 1000 families (both families of police officers as well as families from communities where these agents operate). The duration of the project is from December 2017 to July 2018 and, at the territorial level, it will focus on the 26 municipalities prioritized by the El Salvador Seguro National Plan. The objective of this effort is that the program “I am a person too” becomes institutionalized as a methodology of prevention of family violence and can be replicated by the trained agents with the families living in the territories they serve.

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ICDP and Ububele cooperation

A new ICDP project has recently started in South Africa.

ICDP has signed an agreement for the development of an ICDP project in cooperation with the non-profit organization in Johannesburg, called Ububele Educational and Psychotherapy Trust (https://ububele.org/about-us/). The new project involves training of a group of professionals to become ICDP facilitators. ICDP trainer, Silje Bjørnstad Holter, is carrying out this work as a volunteer. She has already conducted the first workshop for Ububele staff and will be working in Johannesburg until May 2020. Silje is experienced in running caregiver groups and has written her thesis on ICDP, as well as a couple of evaluation and research reports.

The ICDP programme has been well received by the Ububele organization who now appear keen to integrate ICDP as one of their activities to strengthen child and family mental health in the township of Alexandra. On 22 of January 2020, Katharine Frost, the Director of the Ububele Educational and Psychotherapy Trust wrote a letter to Nicoletta Armstrong, ICDP chair, in which she made the following statement:

“The Ububele Educational and Psychotherapy Trust, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, provides therapeutic services to the community of Alexandra – a densely populated, impoverished community with a myriad of challenges. The addition of ICDP training, extends our offering so as to affect change and provide support for the families we serve. The ICDP appears to me to be a good fit with the principles and values of our organization. In particular, the emphasis on culture is resonant and appropriate. We are hoping that a total of 14 practitioners will be trained (a combination of psychologists and community counsellors) and we intend offering 7 self-training parenting groups within the coming months, so as to complete the training of our staff.”

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ICDP courses at a university in Russia

ICDP training is going to be offered at a pedagogic university in Russia.

At the end of February 2018, Dr Oksana Isaeva, ICDP representative for Russia, had a meeting with the Chancellor of the Minin University (Pedagogic University) in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia.

It was an important meeting for ICDP and as a result it was agreed to start working on incorporating ICDP at the University. This would be achieved by offering ICDP training to professionals involved with the master programme – starting from next year. The long term plan is to form groups of ICDP facilitators at the university who would subsequently work with parents and specialists in pre-schools, schools and social centers.

There is also great interest in organizing international meetings (conference and education sessions) together with ICDP.

In addition, Oksana would like to invite academics worldwide who are working with the ICDP programme at different universities to link up with the Minin University. Her idea is to establish collaboration in order to explore some scientific questions relevant to the ICDP parenting programme.

Oksana M. Isaeva and Elena N. Volkova wrote a article on ICDP: “Early psycho-social intervention program WHO/ICDP as an effective optimization method for child-parental relationships”.  

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ICDP for refugee parents in Ecuador

In 2018, ICDP has become part of the “Programme of integration for refugees and migrants in Quito of the University of the Two Hemispheres”.

The programme seeks to promote learning of the Spanish language, lessons and practices of entrepreneurship applied to gastronomy, education of migratory law, learning of Ecuadorian culture and history and this year for the first time there is a psychosocial component represented by the ICDP Programme.

This is a complex project which is characterized by an intercultural approach. Students participate from different faculties that make up the University, such as political and legal sciences, pedagogy, business, gastronomy, communication, among others. Many of the beneficiaries of this project come from the Middle East and North Africa, as well as from other regions. The aim is to improve their quality of life within a framework of inter-cultural and social inclusion.

The ICDP programme will be implemented with caregivers, i.e. the ICDP workshops will be developed for refugee parents. Refugee children are often facing situations of discrimination because of their culture, especially in their schools, which poses a great challenge and requires cooperation with educational institutions. The promotion of inter-culturalism leads to respect and true integration, by recognizing differences and valuing them to generate a new learning space. ICDP will put a special emphasis on this and will be working in cooperation with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), NGO called “ RET” (Specialized in education issues), the Mennonite Church, The International Organization for Migration (IOM). The overall implementation of the different components of this programme of integration for refugees and migrants will be coordinated by the University of the Two Hemispheres.

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Expansion of ICDP in Boyaca, Colombia

A successful expansion of the ICDP programme was seen in the department of Boyacá, as an initiative of the local government.

The largest ICDP project in Colombia during 2107 was the one developed in the department of Boyacá. The initiative came from the local government who decided to implement ICDP as part of their broader efforts to combat violence and promote peace and good treatment in families and communities of the Boyacá department. This new strategy which in 2017 spread to many areas of the department is known as “Soy Como Tu” (I am as you are).

The ICDP intervention reached 37 municipalities and 160 facilitators were trained in 2017. The implementation was coordinated by ICDP trainer Luis Fernando Lopez Cardozo, who works in the Boyacá government office. His 145 page long report is in Spanish, the results of this initiative look promising – click here to read 

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Venezuela

A group from Venezuela has asked for training in ICDP.

The very first steps for the introduction of ICDP in Caracas were made in the second half of 2017, when Trina Frometa, a Venezuelan living in USA, started to work with Nicoletta Armstrong. She then received training in the basics of ICDP to enable her to present the main ideas of the ICDP programme to other interested parties.

Trina is an award winning Venezuelan choreographer who has worldwide recognition through over 50 acclaimed international choreographic presentations. In 1995 she founded the Contemporary Dance Company “Proyecto Movimientos” and has been working as the artistic director ever since. In USA she has been using dance therapy in relation to Parkinson’s disease sufferers. For months now, Trina has been actively seeking and successfully obtaining support for families and children in Venezuela at a time of great need in that country, but more recently she has assumed the role of an ICDP ambassador – in the sense that she is trying to take the ICDP programme to her country.

Upon her temporary return to Caracas in April 2018, Trina will present the main content of the ICDP programme to a group of professionals who expressed interest to become ICDP trained. Afterwards, ICDP would organize a more systematic training processes for those who definitely commit to the entire ICDP training process.

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Advances in Bangladesh

A group of professionals from five different organizations embarked on their ICDP Facilitator level training in Dhaka, in January 2020.

Photo above was taken at the ICDP workshop: One trainee facilitator is doing an exercise whose aim is to show how an ICDP facilitator needs to communicate with a mother with a negative conception of her child; how to help that mother to see the situation from her daughte’rs perspective, and experience perhaps something new and positive about her child. 

The twenty one participants in process of becoming facilitators, are representatives from the Normisjon Bd, the Basha Enterprizes Ltd., the AG Mission, the Lamb project and the Salvation Army. The body in charge of organizing the ICDP workshops is Normisjon Bangladesh and the training is conducted by Gerd Eli Lindtjørn Haaland and three trainee trainers, Sajeda Aktar, Shahnaz Parveen and Edna Velasco. 

The first workshop was held in January and the second in February, allowing just enough time between the two workshops for participants to practice the eight ICDP guidelines for good interaction in relation to their own children.

“For me as an ICDP trainer, it was very inspiring to see how thoroughly the participants had done their self- assessments. Many had taken videos of their interactions with their children and had evaluated it according to the eight ICDP guidelines for good interaction, which they had learned at the first workshop. By doing such active self- reflection exercise they had initiated positive changes, and could already see the outcomes. By looking at the interaction videos they had made, we could point out what they did well and thereby give them more self-confidence as caregivers. One father shared his experience: 

– I never knew that I needed to have a shared focus with my two-year old. If he asked me something I hardly answered him. Now I know that I need to give my full attention and provide meaning to what he is interested in. Now I enjoy helping him to expand his ideas. When he askes me where this and that food comes from, I explain it to him and I always try to find photos or visit places so that he will understand even more. Now he askes even more questions, but it is all good. I enjoy to spend this time with him.

In the second workshop the participants learned how to convey the ICDP message to others. We discussed and role-played the seven ICDP principles of sensitisation. On the last day all the participants did mock session where they acted out as facilitators. 

For us who are giving the training, it has been a joy to see that the trainee facilitators are capable of bringing ICDP to their areas. They are now starting to conduct their first caregiver groups. They will work in pairs, and we will organize a follow up; there will also be a visit from an ICDP trainer. From May 31st to June 2nd 2020, we will all meet again for the third and final workshop. ” – Gerd Eli Lindtjørn Haaland.

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Feedback from Tbilisi

The ICDP programme encountered good reception in Georgia.

In Tbilisi, during the period from November 2017 to March 2018, three groups of parents had embarked on a journey of self-exploration and parenting. The meetings were facilitated by Nino Margvelashvili and the ICDP meetings took place at the “Tamar Gagoshidze’s Neuropsychology Center”.

“Sharing their stories and constructing their own understanding of positive parent-child interactions based on ICDP principles were the main instruments. The diversity of groups ensured that every story or idea expressed during the meetings left a footprint on others. There were days with many tears.

Those tears were cleansing, at the same time serving as opportunities to cultivate more empathy and compassion.” – writes Nino.

Here are some thoughts from the participants:

“…I have become aware of every second of my life, perceiving my interactions with my child…I feel that my child’s love towards me has increased, doubled.. and we are better friends now. Generally, this course ignited in me periods of contemplation about human interactions and caring for others.”

“The training delivered everyday issues in a very comprehensible way for me, which made it easier to connect to real life situations…Compared to general trends these days, this programme is the one that makes sense without using high-flown concepts or values.”

“…With the help of this course I became convinced that human interactions are basis for human development.”

“I feel I am stronger and more confident by realizing and acknowledging where my difficulties lie and where I do not have any.”

“Before bedtime I would tell my daughter that the training I was attending twice a week was like a job but for a shorter period; and that the reason for attending was to learn more so that she and I had better and better interactions and can better understand each other. Then Mia said: “Mummy, I found a name for your job and I am naming it “Love Job.” I think my daughter was perceiving my emotions whenever I shared about the ICDP training with my husband, and I think she chose the title accordingly.”

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Club Campestre foundation develops ICDP

In Antioquia, Abel Salazar introduced the ICDP programme through his newly formed foundation “Club Campestre”.

He explains:

– The implementation of the ICDP programme at the Club Campestre Foundation was an opportunity to realize synergy between ICDP Colombia and our foundation. We were seeking to have a greater impact on the beneficiary population, by strengthening the affective links and by improving the quality of family relationships in our foundation’s target populations. ICDP helped us to achieve this.

In 2019, the Club Campestre Foundation (FCC) applied the ICDP programme with parents and children: fifteen parents, users of the adult high school programme, and 50 parents of young people – recipients of the scholarship programme,  attended the ICDP course. We also carried out various pedagogical activities based on ICDP with thirty five children that attend the Rural Schools programme.

In addition, Marcela Gómez, a professional in family development, became ICDP facilitator and applied ICDP with 23 families that included a total of 92 persons.

Each of the activities that we carried out contributed to the development of life skills and peaceful coexistence, encouraged cordial and respectful treatment among family members, assisted in the management of emotions and generated greater sensitivity for relational needs of others. 

I express my thanks to the ICDP Colombia Foundation for its support, accompaniment and administration in this process, to its director, Carmen Lucia Andrade, for her commitment and constant support.  

We look forward to continuing the work for the human growth of the population groups that are part of our social management.

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ICDP developments in Ouagadougou

In January 2020, the ICDP training started in connection with the Save the Children (SC) project in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. 

The ICDP programme is envisaged as a complementary component to the existing intervention under the current Child Sensitive Social Protection (CSSP) programme by SC, aiming to strengthen the parental competences and children’s overall psychosocial development. A first group of facilitators received training in 2017 and 2018.

In 2020, a group of twenty two professionals linked to SC and their partner organizations, attended the ICDP Facilitator level training in January. There were two objectives of the new training. One was to prepare a new team of trainee facilitators, so that they are able to carry out their first ICDP practical work, i.e. do their self-training project by implementing the ICDP programme with a group of caregivers and eventually become ICDP facilitators. The second objective was to help several of the previously trained facilitators embark on their training to become ICDP trainers. In fact, these trainee trainers acted as assistants to Nicoletta Armstrong who conducted the January workshop. 

A new ICDP module specifically adapted for Burkina Faso, was prepared in advance and discussed with the core team of trainee trainers before and after the workshop. It is based on the module that ICDP had developed with SC in the Philippines. 

The participants received the customary training in ICDP and on the last day they discussed together with their trainer, how best to adapt the videos, photos and booklets for use in Burkina Faso. 

With regards to the 8 guidelines for good interaction, participants were divided into 4 groups and in each group participants spoke a different local language – there are over sixty languages in Burkina Faso, but the participants will be using 4 main languages once they start the ICDP work in their respective communities. Each group decided on the best translation of the key words for the 8 guidelines for good interaction and 7 principles of sensitization. This was done bearing in mind the education level of the families that will be receiving ICDP in future and the language they are likely to speak. 

All participants had a chance to practice the delivery of the ICDP programme to caregivers through mock sessions at the workshop, in which some participants acted as parents and others as facilitators. After the training, they started to apply ICDP with parents by working mostly in pairs (two facilitators run one parent group). They will report about their self-training projects at the next workshop, to be held in April 2020. The trainee facilitators showed a lot of interest and real commitment to take ICDP to families in their respective communities. And the trainee trainers on the other hand, displayed good skills in applying the 7 ICDP principles of sensitization in relation to the workshop participants. The trainee trainers are currently supporting the practical work of the new facilitators.