Programme name: Early Childhood Development (ECD)
Programme time frame: 2015-2018
Direct beneficiaries: 33 000 (children aged 0-5)
Indirect beneficiaries: 120 000 (children aged 0-5)
The early years of a child’s life are critical not only for their health and physical development but also for the formation of cognitive and social-emotional abilities.
Malnutrition, inadequate care and lack of proper education conditions impair the physical and cognitive growth and development of children, restricts them from realising their full potential as adults. World Vision Armenia Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes aim at improving the abilities of parents and service providers for children under 5, thus creating an environment for their healthy growth and development.
World Vision Armenia ECD programmes focus on early child development to support the healthy growth and development of children under 5 which is seen as the most critical precondition for the full realization of their potential during adulthood.
In pursuing this goal World Vision ECD programmes are carried out in two directions:
- Enhancement of the quality for healthcare and preschool educational services in 200 communities of Armenia,
- Increasing awareness among parents on child rights for health care and education, as well as for child care, nutrition and upbringing.
ECD programme carries out professional development lectures, practical and theoretical trainings for medical workers of the beneficiary communities to improve the quality of health care services. Through practical consultations experts ensure health care services in the place are in line with the state requirements for service delivery.
About 700 health care providers were capacitated in 2017 through trainings on child screenings, nutrition, and common disease management.
In order to improve the 600 preschool educational services the programme carries out lectures and practical trainings, organizes exchange visits for the community specialists to Yerevan preschool educations where child-focused approach is adopted as a key upbringing method. The programme seeks to create favorable environment at preschool educational facilities through equipping them with development materials, toys, books, game simulations, etc.
Parental education constitutes a considerable part of ECD programmes. World Vision supported 80 parental schools established in 2016 providing training materials including video lessons and leaflets on child care, nutrition and positive parenting. World Vision continues to regularly monitor the work of schools to ensure the quality of the sessions.
World Vision intensively works on educating pregnant women about healthy pregnancy, breastfeeding, newborn care and the rights of pregnant women. These initiatives are carried out through educational booklets and video lessons developed in collaboration with Armenia’s Ministry of Healthcare.
Another set of educational booklets and video lessons has been developed on nutrition, child care, safety and upbringing – widely circulated in parental schools.
Food preparation sessions are conducted for children’s mothers in Parental schools. During these sessions, community mothers, especially those from the most vulnerable families, learned how to prepare healthy and age-appropriate meals from locally produced and affordable ingredients, and they received practical manuals with concrete recipes.
Along with strengthening the parental educational component at community medical centres, World Vision organises “Go Baby, Go” classes of positive parenting. During these classes young mothers are trained on child early stimulation. Through interactive sessions mothers learn how to influence their children’s social-emotional development and learning capability. They learn to prepare homemade toys out of available materials, how to avoid child punishment through analyzing children’s behavior and choosing proper parenting methods, stress management, etc. Special sessions are conducted for fathers and grandmothers.
Starting from October 2016 WV implements “Improved perinatal and newborn care in Syunik and Gegharkunuk marzes” two year project aimed to contribute to improving antenatal, postpartum and newborn care in Syunik and Gegharkunuk marzes of Armenia. Project is funded by Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung Fund and implemented in 97 communities of Syunik and Gegharkunik marzes of Armenia to be covered by WVA’s 5 Area Programs (Kapan, Sisian, Vardenis, Chambarak, Gavar).
World Vision works with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders towards developing, piloting and submitting for approval and institutionalization tools, protocols and best practices regulating antenatal, postnatal and newborn care. The main objective of the project is to address one of the major causes of perinatal losses by preventing micronutrient deficiencies among pregnant women and infants and enhance early childhood development by introducing the system of postpartum depression screening/management and promoting early initiation of breastfeeding in the targeted regions. A series of trainings are being organised for health care providers on antenatal and postpartum care; these trainings are complemented by exchange visits to other marzes and Yerevan and supportive visits by the experts from the leading clinics in Yerevan.
The project is also organising seminars and public events for community population and promote regular functioning of motherhood/parental schools through health staff coaching. In addition number of educational materials are being developed and disseminated on pregnancy, post-delivery and newborn care for pregnant women and family members.
Postnatal depression is completely open topic in Armenia. To cover the gap, project proposed new postnatal depression screening tool and management guideline to Ministry of health. After receiving their approval, project started to pilot these tools in targeted facilities. Experts from Armenian Psychiatric association conducted trainings for 114 health providers (obstetricians-gynecologists, family doctors and psychiatrists, neurologists and psychologists) on utilization of screening tool and management of prenatal depression (counseling, referral, etc.). Upcoming year close monitoring will be conducted to assure proper application of newly gained knowledge and skills.
Early Childhood Development programme values awareness about rights and obligations and organizes advocacy trainings on a regular bases both for service providers (medical staff, employers of preschool education centers) and for the community members. Service providers and community members get together around round-table discussions to address pressing issues their communities face and jointly suggest solutions over the improvement of the situation. Meanwhile, the achievements and newly emerged challenges are identified and addressed throughout the programme implementation.
In the scope of ECD programme implementation World Vision Armenia closely cooperates with Armenia’s ministries of Healthcare and Education, Governors’ offices, other local and international organisations.
In the frames of World Vision Armenia ECD programmes annually
- About 700 health care providers are capacitated through trainings on child screenings, nutrition, and common disease management,
- Around 9000 mothers participate in trainings on early childhood development,
- More than 3000 mothers involved in public events aimed at raising awareness on healthy nutrition,
- Food preparation sessions organized for 900 mothers, conducted in 80 newly established Parental schools.