The Faith & Development Office of West Africa Regional Office affirms that staff and Faith leaders are key front liners in the quest to achieving fullness of life for children across programme areas in the region. It has therefore been strategic in investing in transforming the lives of these transformation agents in the Region. The Celebrating Families Curriculum tool, since its inception in the Region in March 2014, has been found to be a powerful tool in achieving this transformative value on staff and Faith leader partners. Indeed, Celebrating Families Curriculum has proved to be a quick win tool for equipping staff, Faith leaders and other partners in creating an enabling environment for children’s up bringing in homes. From March 2014 to date, WARO Faith & Development has been intentional in strengthening 5 national offices with the Celebrating Families Curriculum tool. 86 Celebrating Families Curriculum facilitators have been trained, 403 staff sensitized and 534 Faith leaders and other partners trained to impact parents and community leaders in Mali, Ghana, Senegal, Niger and Mauritania. Countless development programmes across the region are benefiting from the training given to the front-liners on an ongoing basis.
That Celebrating Families Curriculum is an excellent way for creating loving spaces for the flourishing of children is attested to by countless testimonies from recipients of the training. Bonaventure Mounkoro, Christian leader in the village of Lenekuy in the Seniwe ADP in Mali sent in this:
“I have been severely beating my 3 year old daughter as my way of disciplining her and it had wounded her soul. Somehow, I knew this would cause separation between us when she grew up. Thanks to the Celebrating Families Curriculum training, I wrote a letter to her asking for forgiveness for my harshness towards her, which was read to her by another person. She asked: ‘who told me to ask her forgiveness?’ She then recommended that I never repeat this again. I had goose pimples and shivered, not believing that such an answer could come from her.”
Celebrating Families Curriculum can be construed as family reconstruction work in progress. And it starts with staff. Jean de Dieu Ngouala of World Vision Senegal recounts:
“I had the privilege of attending Celebrating Families Curriculum held in Dakar…the first for me. I find that all the contents of the module are significant; however two topics particularly changed the lives of my family. The first deals with actions that best express love between husband and wife. I benefitted from understanding specific gestures with which I could touch the heart of my wife and make her happy and this has been my secret weapon. The second consists of ways of expressing love to our children. I have three children and I composed a common expression to them all. Our eldest son was so touched by our affirmation of love that replied on the same sheet: “Mom and Dad, we will always love you and thank you.” The best is that he took this sheet and posted it on the wall of his room, so he reads the words every day. It really moved me. That is why I think Celebrating Families Curriculum is a key for harmony in families.”
Not only has Celebrating Families Curriculum been found useful in Christian contexts; it has been very much accepted in majority Muslim contexts across West Africa Regional Office. In Mauritania, staff and partners, mostly Muslim leaders made these following commitments after Celebrating Families Curriculum training hold in Nouakchott, August 2015:
- Gather family members and ask each to identify the seeds of goodness in each other. This information will be recorded in the document for the family
- Encourage family members to opt for counselinginstead apportioning blame
- Apply the meaning of forgiveness in the family
- Hold a family meeting every Friday to allow family members to forgive each other
With the Celebrating Families Curriculum tool, West Africa Regional Office Faith & Development is transforming the lives of key influencers of children: parents, faith leaders, and staff so they in turn bring about needed changes in family lives and create congenial home environments for the necessary for the attainment of fullness of life.
Story by: Josue Djire