In efforts to support parents and keep children safe during the COVID-19 lockdown, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Proof Africa joined forces with a group of organisations including Oxford University, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Global Partnership to End Violence, the World Health Organisation, Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and World Without Orphans, to disseminate parenting resources to families across Africa.
The resources consisted of a suite of materials based on the principles for positive parenting in the evidence-based PLH programmes. The materials are intended to help parents alleviate stress, prevent violence against children, promote positive parent-child relationships, stay safe, discuss finances with their children and understand COVID-19. They aim to help parents build strong positive relationships with their children. The intention is for these materials to contribute towards preventing violence in our homes.
The materials reached more than 200 organisations in Africa - including government departments, private companies, NGOs and civil society organisations, health and parenting blogs, and faith-based institutions - and impacting the lives of more than 300,000 families.
Here are some of the organisations and networks who have accessed and used the materials:
The Citizen Justice Network - a network of journalists and paralegal officers - found the materials useful in training 18 paralegals to speak about the information on 18 community radio stations in South Africa.
A long-time resident in Alexandra township, Johannesburg, shared the materials with his Early Childhood Development (ECD), old age and youth centres, reaching more than 2,000 parents, caregivers, young children and teenagers. He also shared the materials with more than 50 taxi drivers and passengers around Alexandra, and in food parcels, reaching more than 600 people.
A Christian Social Services Council providing social and welfare services to communities in the Eastern Cape said they received positive feedback from parents who they shared the materials with. “The parents found the resources constructive, as a result they started to understand the balance of where to place boundaries, where to encourage and where to discourage behaviour,” said one of the Council’s members. "Most of the parents we work with did not know how to protect their children during the pandemic, and this created a huge void between them and their children. With the materials, they have learned how to maintain relationships with their children and how to use their authority in a way that will not be harmful."
The office of the First Lady of Namibia shared the materials with 1,540 frontline care workers, including church leaders and 233 life skills teachers in 14 schools. The materials were also used to train 130 female prison inmates to implement when they are released.
A Zimbabwean organisation, Chiedza Child Care Centre, shared the materials on a WhatsApp group consisting of more than 60 case workers, and will continue to share the materials with 15 clinics in the rural and six in urban areas – in two districts where they operate.
Several networks have shared the materials with organisations that work on parenting, gender and family issues, including Shukumisa in South Africa, a coalition of 70 Non-Governmental Organisations and Family for every child, a global network of 40 civil society organisations located in 36 different countries.
To learn more about the COVID-19 Parenting initiative, or to get involved in sharing these materials with families, check out the website and/or contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
The VPF shares updates from the work of all participants in the network. Read these here.
14 October 2021
On 20 and 21 September, a multisectoral group representing the research community, NGOs, government departments and development partners came to a shared definition of violence prevention. It reads:
"Violence prevention is the whole of society working deliberately and sustainably to remove sources of harm and inequality, and heal woundedness, by intentionally growing an ethic of mutual care, respect and inclusion to build peace."
The VPF network offers a number of funding, training and event opportunities. Find out more here.
VPF Facilitation Course 2022
The Institute for Security Studies, Reos Partners and Leadership Pathways have teamed-up to offer an intense training course for facilitators and leaders who wish to convene and facilitate effective dialogue. The facilitation course draws on the tried and tested methods of the Violence Prevention Forum in South Africa. It will enable facilitators to apply systems thinking, design interactive processes and facilitate dialogue. It is offered with the intention of developing creative, courageous, empathetic leaders and facilitators who can enable collective problem solving. The call for applications is available here. Applications are open until 21 February 2022. Please ensure that you available for the full nine days of the course.