Faith-Based Support ofEarly Child Development in  Urban Slums of Africa       Dr. John H. Bryant   Dr. Malinda Harrahs Est...
Collaborative Work• Dr. John Bryant. Director, Orphans and  Vulnerable Children in Urban Slums of  Africa. Project located...
Introduction• Advances in the science of early childhood  development (ECD) provide powerful  evidence that what a child e...
Introduction• One component of ECD – child-caregiver  attachment – focuses on the importance of  close, loving and stimula...
Introduction• It is very important that the child has a  relationship with the mother (or caregiver)  that is nurturing, l...
Introduction• Recent research has identified two  fundamental qualities that determine the  care-giver’s ability to provid...
Introduction• child who is physically, intellectually  and socially healthy and more resilient to the damaging effects of ...
God is Loving and Relational• This is also scriptural as the greatest  commandment is love (Mathew 22:37).• God is loving ...
Jesus Blesses Little Children• Luke 18, vs 15. People were bringing even  infants to him that he might touch them,  and wh...
Faith Based Support?• Jesus Blesses Little Children• Jesus is God’s embodiment of                 God’s love for the world...
Orphans and Vulnerable Children• Now, let us review the community-based  project on Orphans and Vulnerable  Children in th...
Origins of the Project• The Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s  Project in Africa.• The project began in late 2005 in  resp...
Origins of the Project• Given the complexities of coping with the  problems of urban slums – water,  sanitation, dwellings...
Origins of the Project• In seeking sites where this work could  proceed, UN Habitat and KENSUP (Kenya  Slum Upgrading Proj...
Origins of the Project• With support from the Rockefeller Founda-  tion, a baseline health and demographic  survey was car...
Origins of the Project• The project is focused on the well-being of  all children under 5. Every household with  a child u...
Origins of the Project• An important aspect of the project is the  Project Coordinator, Racheal Nduku.• Racheal is a local...
Origins of the Project• The Headquarters of the Project are in  Mlolongo, a community located on  Mombasa Road, the busies...
Origins of the Project• It is here that this community-based  project found its beginnings. Each family  engaged in the pr...
Origins of the Project• With CHWs visiting every household and  gathering information on every child, it  was possible to ...
Project Collaboration• Project leadership sought from the  beginning collaborative interactions with:• >Daystar University...
Project Collaboration• We see the potential for these institutional  linkages working together in extending  lessons learn...
Attachment Theory• Core to attachment theory is the concept  of secure and insecure attachment.• In order for the CHWs to ...
Tool for Scoring Caregiver-Child             Attachment• MOTHER• A. Shows affection, caring and interest while  holding he...
Tool for Scoring Caregiver-Child             Attachment• CHILD• Cries or tries to follow if mother leaves  room (secure)• ...
Child Survival vs. Child            Development• There is a place for recognizing a clear  distinction between• Child Surv...
Practicalities of the Project• Overseeing the operational functions of  the Project are very stimulating.• From the Projec...
Practicalities of the Project• Continuous oversight of the Project  follows, with sharing of insights on positive  and neg...
Practicalities of the Project• Project staff meet periodically with the  leadership of the District Government  Health Off...
References• Three recent primary documents provide  the evidence-based underpinnings for the  work described in this artic...
References• Second, The importance of caregiver-child  interactions for the survival and healthy  development of young chi...
The Science of Early Childhood          Development• The Center on the Developing Child,  Harvard University, provides imp...
Science of ECD - 2• respond with same kind of vocalizing and  gesturing back at them.• In the absence of such responses –•...
Science of ECD - 3• Scientists now know that chronic,  unrelent-ing stress in early childhood,  caused by extreme poverty,...
Attachment Variables and             Biblical/scripture• This paper attempts to provide a link  between attachment variabl...
Faith-Based Approaches• Jesus Blesses Little Children• Jesus is God’s embodiment of God’s love  for the world.• John’s Fir...
Faith-Based Approaches• God is often expressed as loving in the  bible as a child/parent relationship.  Speaking to his pe...
Faith-Based Approaches• God is often expressed as loving and  finding joy in tending to his children.  Comparing his love ...
The Way Forward for the Church• Further, it can serve to bridge the gap in  literature brought by limited empirical  resea...
The Way Forward for the Church• rally the church to respond, prioritize• and articulate the role of faith and religion  in...
Concluding Reflections• Here, I see possibilities of caregiver-child  attachments finding their place, over time,  in many...
Conclusion• It has been a pleasure to share with you  these interesting processes:• >enhancing the well-being of OVC in sl...
CCIH 2012 Conference, Breakout 2, John Bryant, Protecting and Promoting Early Child Development in Marginalized Population...
CCIH 2012 Conference, Breakout 2, John Bryant, Protecting and Promoting Early Child Development in Marginalized Population...
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CCIH 2012 Conference, Breakout 2, John Bryant, Protecting and Promoting Early Child Development in Marginalized Populations, Faith-Based Support of Early Child Development in Urban Slums of Africa

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Dr. John Bryant discusses the evidence showing what happens during a child's early years provide a critical foundation for the rest of the child's life. Dr. Bryant presents the Orphans and Vulnerable Children's Project to improve the well-being of 100 million people in the slums of Africa.

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CCIH 2012 Conference, Breakout 2, John Bryant, Protecting and Promoting Early Child Development in Marginalized Populations, Faith-Based Support of Early Child Development in Urban Slums of Africa

  1. 1. Faith-Based Support ofEarly Child Development in Urban Slums of Africa Dr. John H. Bryant Dr. Malinda Harrahs Esther CCIH Conference, June, 2012
  2. 2. Collaborative Work• Dr. John Bryant. Director, Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Urban Slums of Africa. Project located in three slum communities near Nairobi, Kenya• Dr. Malinda Harrahs, Director• Institute for Child Development,• Daystar University, Nairobi, Kenya
  3. 3. Introduction• Advances in the science of early childhood development (ECD) provide powerful evidence that what a child experiences during the early years sets a critical foundation for the entire life course – including physical, social/emotional, and language/cognitive domains – strongly influencing basic learning, school success, economic participation, social citizenry and health.
  4. 4. Introduction• One component of ECD – child-caregiver attachment – focuses on the importance of close, loving and stimulating interactions of the young child and mother or caregiver from day-one after birth and through the early weeks, months and years, which can result in life-long benefits.
  5. 5. Introduction• It is very important that the child has a relationship with the mother (or caregiver) that is nurturing, loving, protective, supportive, stimulating – every day, week, month for considerable time.• Lacking that persisting closeness can be damaging to the interaction, with negative consequences.
  6. 6. Introduction• Recent research has identified two fundamental qualities that determine the care-giver’s ability to provide effective care: sensitivity and responsiveness to the child.• These skills enable the caregiver to detect the child’s signals and to respond approp- riately in synchrony, to meet the child’s needs, promoting the development of a
  7. 7. Introduction• child who is physically, intellectually and socially healthy and more resilient to the damaging effects of poverty and violence. The most powerful conceptualization of child-caregiver attachment posits that it is the fundamental determinant of health (Bowlby, 1980 and Ainsworth, 1972).
  8. 8. God is Loving and Relational• This is also scriptural as the greatest commandment is love (Mathew 22:37).• God is loving and relational. He is always seeking strong bond and relationships between Himself and His creation.• A healthy strong relationship between man and God will yield him eternity.
  9. 9. Jesus Blesses Little Children• Luke 18, vs 15. People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them, and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me and do not stop them, for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs. Truly, I tell you that whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
  10. 10. Faith Based Support?• Jesus Blesses Little Children• Jesus is God’s embodiment of God’s love for the world• Here is some initial probing at the possibilities of Faith-Based Support of Early Child Development Programs in the Urban Slums of Africa.• We will explore these possibilities further after discussing details of project development.
  11. 11. Orphans and Vulnerable Children• Now, let us review the community-based project on Orphans and Vulnerable Children in the Urban Slums of Kenya that provide the site for us to explore these interesting and important factors that shape the lives of these children in slum communities.
  12. 12. Origins of the Project• The Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s Project in Africa.• The project began in late 2005 in response to a commitment made by UN Habitat to the• Millennium Development Goal of improving the well-being of 100 million African slum dwellers!
  13. 13. Origins of the Project• Given the complexities of coping with the problems of urban slums – water, sanitation, dwellings, etc. -- there was concern that the needs of young children might be left out. UN Habitat asked John Bryant and his wife, Nancy Bryant, to develop health care and social support for the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) under 5 years of age in the urban slums of Kenya.They responded
  14. 14. Origins of the Project• In seeking sites where this work could proceed, UN Habitat and KENSUP (Kenya Slum Upgrading Project) recommended three urban slums near Nairobi – Mlolongo, Sophia and Bondeni. The population of those communities is now estimated to be 215,000.
  15. 15. Origins of the Project• With support from the Rockefeller Founda- tion, a baseline health and demographic survey was carried out in the three communities.• This survey provided baseline data that served as the beginning of an effective information system that has persisted to today.
  16. 16. Origins of the Project• The project is focused on the well-being of all children under 5. Every household with a child under 5 is visited regularly by Community Health Workers – CHWs.• CHWs are local people trained to provide primary health care and also to assess the nature of caregiver-child attachments.• There are 2400 households, each of which contains one or more children under 5.
  17. 17. Origins of the Project• An important aspect of the project is the Project Coordinator, Racheal Nduku.• Racheal is a local woman who lives in the slums with her husband and children, who has emerged as a person with remarkable leadership skills, based on her knowledge of the local language, culture and social dynamics of the communities.
  18. 18. Origins of the Project• The Headquarters of the Project are in Mlolongo, a community located on Mombasa Road, the busiest truck route in Africa, that extends from the port city of Mombasa on the coast to Nairobi and beyond to other African states.• The office in Mlolongo provides space for Racheal and her staff, and for meetings with CHWs, community people and others.
  19. 19. Origins of the Project• It is here that this community-based project found its beginnings. Each family engaged in the project, each seeking to understand the elements of primary health care and caregiver-child attachments. Of course, a family was often a “single-Mom with her little one”, because so many residents of the slums have migrated there from rural areas, looking for work.
  20. 20. Origins of the Project• With CHWs visiting every household and gathering information on every child, it was possible to develop a Child Health and Development Information System.• This included information relating to both primary health care and also to caregiver- child attachments, as the CHWs are trained to function in both areas.
  21. 21. Project Collaboration• Project leadership sought from the beginning collaborative interactions with:• >Daystar University, Nairobi.• >University of Tennessee.• >Kenyatta University, Nairobi.• >Aga Khan University, Nairobi.
  22. 22. Project Collaboration• We see the potential for these institutional linkages working together in extending lessons learned to institutions in other parts of Africa.
  23. 23. Attachment Theory• Core to attachment theory is the concept of secure and insecure attachment.• In order for the CHWs to identify and distinguish between secure and insecure attachments, a Tool for Scoring Secure and Insecure Attachments has been developed.
  24. 24. Tool for Scoring Caregiver-Child Attachment• MOTHER• A. Shows affection, caring and interest while holding her child. (secure)• B. Shows no interest or love when holding her child. (insecure)• A. Responds quickly and with warm concern to the child’s signals, understands what s/he needs. (secure)• B. Does not respond quickly to the child’s cry or reads negative intentions to them. (insecure)
  25. 25. Tool for Scoring Caregiver-Child Attachment• CHILD• Cries or tries to follow if mother leaves room (secure)• Clingy, overly fearful, anxious or angry if mother leaves. (insecure)• Joyful or relieved when mother returns. (s)• Ignores, or expresses anger towards mother if she returns after an absence (I).
  26. 26. Child Survival vs. Child Development• There is a place for recognizing a clear distinction between• Child Survival.• and• Child Development.• Particularly in recognizing the lifelong benefits of child development that reach beyond child survival.
  27. 27. Practicalities of the Project• Overseeing the operational functions of the Project are very stimulating.• From the Project Office in Mlolongo, it is apparent that the CHWs are visiting all households, interacting with children and families, making observations, collecting relevant data and submitting reports. Data are computerized, and periodically reviewed by Racheal and project leaders.
  28. 28. Practicalities of the Project• Continuous oversight of the Project follows, with sharing of insights on positive and negative aspects of the ongoing work.• Periodic meetings of Project staff and CHWs yield priorities for further action.• Our linkage with Daystar University is lively, with Racheal as a student at Daystar, their students visiting our field sites, and leadership sharing perspectives.
  29. 29. Practicalities of the Project• Project staff meet periodically with the leadership of the District Government Health Officers to share ideas on current problems and success stories.
  30. 30. References• Three recent primary documents provide the evidence-based underpinnings for the work described in this article.• First, From Neurons to Neighborhoods – The Science of Early Childhood Development, 2000, National Academy of Sciences.
  31. 31. References• Second, The importance of caregiver-child interactions for the survival and healthy development of young children. WHO. 2011.• Third, Early Childhood Development: A Powerful Equalizer. Final Report of WHO’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health. 2011.
  32. 32. The Science of Early Childhood Development• The Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University, provides important guidance for this field of ECD.• Scientists now know a major ingredient in this developmental process is the “serve and return” relationship between children and their parents and other caregivers in the family or community.• Young children naturally reach out for interaction through babbling, facial expressions and gestures, and adults
  33. 33. Science of ECD - 2• respond with same kind of vocalizing and gesturing back at them.• In the absence of such responses –• or if the responses are unreliable or inappropriate – the brain’s architecture does not form as expected, which can lead to disparities in learning and behavior.
  34. 34. Science of ECD - 3• Scientists now know that chronic, unrelent-ing stress in early childhood, caused by extreme poverty, repeated abuse, or severe maternal depression, for example, can be toxic to the developing brain. While positive stress (moderate, short-lived physiological responses to uncomfortable experiences) is an important and necessary aspect of healthy development.
  35. 35. Attachment Variables and Biblical/scripture• This paper attempts to provide a link between attachment variables and Biblical text/scripture so as to describe and bring forth an attachment perspective that is a fruitful line of incorporation in Holistic child development studies, programming and research.
  36. 36. Faith-Based Approaches• Jesus Blesses Little Children• Jesus is God’s embodiment of God’s love for the world.• John’s First Letter. Chapter 3. Verse 1.• See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are.
  37. 37. Faith-Based Approaches• God is often expressed as loving in the bible as a child/parent relationship. Speaking to his people in Isaiah 66:13, God promises them that he will love and care for them. “as a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” They will be secure in his care. The three dimensions in this parameter of affection, caring, showing interest, and holding are all present in this scripture reference.
  38. 38. Faith-Based Approaches• God is often expressed as loving and finding joy in tending to his children. Comparing his love for his people to a parent teaching her child to walk, God in Hosea 11:1.3 describes this joyous experience in care-giving “When Israel was a child, I loved him…it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them in my arms.” All elements of joy, care-giving, tending, in this parameter are expressed in this scripture.
  39. 39. The Way Forward for the Church• Further, it can serve to bridge the gap in literature brought by limited empirical research concerning relationship between attachment styles and parameters with religion, in particular Christianity. It can also become a fruitful line of investigation and dialogue within the WHO circles, and within the Christian church in efforts to
  40. 40. The Way Forward for the Church• rally the church to respond, prioritize• and articulate the role of faith and religion in ensuring Safe Motherhood and Child Development by encouraging fostering of secure caregiver-child relationships within families, the church and the wider community.
  41. 41. Concluding Reflections• Here, I see possibilities of caregiver-child attachments finding their place, over time, in many African communities, with many African children benefiting accordingly.• Then, reflecting on these examples of biblical expressions of God’s loving support of caregiver-child attachments, the potential would seem substantial for many African communities benefiting from these processes.
  42. 42. Conclusion• It has been a pleasure to share with you these interesting processes:• >enhancing the well-being of OVC in slum communities of Africa;• >engagement of communities in supporting the finer concepts of child development, including caregiver-child attachments;• >considering the place of biblical text and scripture in supporting these processes of early child development.

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