Children are entitled to safe learning environments, at home and in school. At ICS-SP, we believe that quality education is the sum total of parental, community and school collaboration. In East Africa, we work with schools and parents to promote safety in and around schools through the Lunch and Learn program. This programme trains and supports teachers on child development, age appropriate discipline and how to prevent child abuse in school. Parents are furthermore invited to participate in our Skilful Parenting trainings to increase their involvement in their children’s’ education. Children now feel safer in schools because of the support they get from their parents and teachers. We now see a recorded increase in regular school attendance, a significant drop in school drop outs and improvements in academic performance.
The program is implemented during lunch breaks to avoid interfering with school lessons. During lunch breaks, ICS-SP staff visit the team of teachers of a school to discuss child protection, child development and the bottlenecks that can occur. Teachers are educated on signs, causes and effects of child abuse, how to prevent child abuse and how to adequately deal with such cases.
At the same time, children are trained in life skills. In different sessions, attention is paid to topics such as self-awareness, decision making, conflict resolution and positive communication. ICS-SP aims to make children more aware of who they are, what they are worth as individuals and how they can live in harmony with others.
The Lunch and Learn program is combined with our Skilful Parenting training, designed to support parents in finding positive ways of childrearing. We believe that children whose parents are caring and involved show not only academic success but also greater social and emotional development, greater self-direction and self-control, and greater social competence. By combining parenting training with education, we aim to ensure that children are supported to be productive and socially responsible citizens in the future.
The effects of the Lunch and Learn program at local schools immediately show. At one of the participating schools, 43 children had quit school in 2015, whereas in 2016 this number was reduced to only one child. The Lunch and Learn project is implemented in 50 different schools, where we currently work with 979 teachers.
The Dutch Caroline Abels, portfolio manager of the Skilful Parenting program, recently traveled to Ivory Coast. Together with colleague Maureen from Kenya she resided in the West-African country for ten days to educate new Skilful Parenting trainers. Dive into her experiences! >>
At least 2 million children in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana are denied their childhoods as they work in extremely hazardous conditions or working at the expense of going to school. The constant increase in demand for cocoa increases dependence on child labour in Cote d’Ivoire. >>