By Famara Fofana
ChildFund – The Gambia on Friday held an open field day on responsive parenting practices in nine communities across North Bank, Central River and Lower River regions.
The programme, which took the form of a question-and-answer session, was held to gauge the understanding of young parents and by extension other community members on responsive parenting practices being rolled out to them by ChildFund – The Gambia with support from Dubai Cares through Unicef.
“Despite being new in our community, we have realised that this parenting education programme is very important to the growth and holistic development of our children. It is now clear to us that child care is not the sole responsibility of the mother alone but the father as well,” said Isatou Sankareh, a young mother in Prince village, North Bank Region.
As a result of their enrolment in the responsive parenting programme, Isatou indicated that she and her fellow parents have also been exposed to the fact that early childhood development commences from the very moment a woman gets conceived. She added that through this programme they also understand that plays builds confidence in children, makes them stronger and also fosters attachment between children and their parents.
Elsewhere in Kataba Mandinka, Kaddy Jammeh said of the programme “as far as child care is concerned, this responsive parenting programme has taken us to another level. In addition to correcting our children without being harsh or beating them, we have learned that toxic stress can have adverse effects on children and us the mothers.”
In what could be described as a massive seal of approval for the responsive parenting programme, chairpersons of village development committees, village alkalolu and the elderly were on hand to witness the open field day in most of the communities. It was characterised by the handing over of essential household items such as soap, buckets, brooms, kettles and handwashing basins.
The eighteen-month Parenting Practices for Early Childhood Development programme being implemented by ChildFund – The Gambia involves 1,200 young parents spread in 30 communities in the North Bank, Central River and Lower River regions.