ICDP developments are taking place in several areas of Ethiopia thanks to the dedicated voluntary work of one ICDP trainer, namely Atnaf Berhanu. The ICDP activities started in 2013 and are ongoing.
In February 2013, Atnaf went to Awasa, situated in the south of Ethiopia, in order to introduce the ICDP methodology to leaders and members of evangelical protestant churches. On that occasion ICDP was presented to 70-80 people. There was a positive response and leadership from six churches showed interest in becoming involved in the process of training and developing ICDP.
Eventually a group of 30 people was selected for the training in the ICDP programme and these trainees were recruited from the six churches; the group included some social workers and a number of psychologists. After a workshop that was held in October 2013, the 30 trainees were enabled to start applying the 8 ICDP guidelines for good interaction in relation to children and to reflect on their own interactive skills.
In 2014, Atnaf managed to organize the translation of Karsten Hundeide’s ICDP manual into Amharic and she gave copies to the trainee facilitators, so that they could implement ICDP with groups of caregivers. In February, Atnaf held a follow up workshop for this group of trainee facilitators, who afterwards embarked on practical self-training, this time implementing ICDP with caregivers in small pilot projects. The facilitator worked in pairs and each pair implemented the ICDP programme with a group of 8-10 caregivers. They kept field diaries which were later used as a basis for discussion and reflection. In October, a group of 12 facilitators received their ICDP facilitator level diplomas.
In 2015, ICDP was introduced to caregivers at My Sisters organization. This training continues in 2016. My Sisters is an independent, non-governmental organization, offering assistance to poor women and their children in the Makanissa area of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
From its very beginning in 1988, the My Sisters organization has been making efforts to assist single mothers struggling to survive. They do this by providing a place for children in one of their day care centres, which frees the mothers to go out and seek employed work.
In line with the traditional Ethiopian culture, women work in their homes or bring their youngest children along when working. However, unmarried women or widows are forced to work outside their homes in order to survive. Available jobs include mostly working as day labourers, such as carrying water or stones at constructions sites. There is also some work available in the local market, such as washing clothes or baking and selling injera – injera is a national dish, a big pancake of fermented dough made from tef. Naturally, it is difficult for women to obtain any kind of work if they have to care for small children at the same time, so there is a continuous need for a place where children can be taken care of during their mothers’ working hours. Throughout the years, My Sisters has managed to open three day care centres. They receive support from Norway through a sponsorship program from individual donors.
The day care centres provide free care for the children from the age of four months until they are four years old. Children may arrive to the centres as early as seven in the morning and often remain in the centre until five in the afternoon. They are provided with good care, nutritious food, a bath, clean cloths and spend the day playing and enjoying the company of children of their own age. They are taught a few social skills and about some of the things they are likely to encounter later when they start school. Their mothers are offered the opportunity to learn about childcare, nutrition, hygiene and other skills, by attending regular training courses. ICDP will be added as another such opportunity.