FAMILIES MATTER! PROGRAM REPORT TURKANA REGION
FAMILIES MATTER! PROGRAM REPORT TURKANA REGION
By BCC Team
1.0 Introduction and Background Information
FMP is evidence-based, parent focused intervention for parents, guardians, and other primary caregivers (hereafter referred to as “parents”) of 9 to 12 –year olds. It promotes positive parenting and effective parent-child communication on sexual topics and sexual risk reduction. FMP provides support to parents so that they can convey their values and expectations about sexual behavior to their children. It also helps parents to provide their children with important messages related to HIV, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and pregnancy prevention.
The goal of FMP is to give parents and adult caregivers tools to influence the sexual risk behavior of their adolescent children. FMP embraces the importance of a values-neutral program. It helps parents teach their own sexual values to their children. FMP enhances parenting skills and helps parents overcome communication barriers. It helps parents communicate their values, which can help delay their children’s sexual behavior and/or increase protective behaviors as their children get older. The ultimate goal of FMP is to reduce sexual risk behavior among adolescents, including delayed onset of sexual debut, by using parents to deliver primary prevention to their children.
1.1 FMP Sessions Description
FMP is presented in five sessions, about 2.5 hours each. They are delivered over a 5-week period. Each session has a specific focus and measurable participant objectives.
- Session 1 provides parents with an overview of the program. It includes information on child and adolescent development. It also raises parents’ awareness of what children need to achieve their life goals.
- Session 2 supports parents in their efforts to build strong positive relationships with their children, to improve parent-child communication, and to supervise their children.
- Session 3 helps parents understand the realities of adolescent sexual behavior. It explains why parents are uniquely suited to deliver sexual risk prevention. It provides brief information on social, physical and emotional development and describes how parents can have sexually healthy children.
- Session 4 helps parents embrace the knowledge, skills, comfort and confidence needed to engage their children in meaningful, sensitive, and timely discussions about sexual issues and sexual risk reduction. This session provides tools for parents when having sex-related talks.
- Session 5 lets parents practice the skills they learned by providing time for parents to interact with their target age child. In addition a 4-step parenting plan for handling peer pressure is included.
Each session builds on the previous one. After completing the program, parents should have more knowledge, skills, comfort, and confidence to communicate with their children about sexual issues and sexual risk reduction. These strategies will also help to strengthen the parent-child relationship.
2.0 Families Matter! Program in Turkana
After a three days implementers training in Nairobi organized by CDC, IRC embarked on the implementation of the FMP in its Turkana sites. Our target is to reach 80% of families with children 9-12 years in all IRC Turkana sites. We have therefore trained 23 facilitators who target to reach 4,200 parents who will in turn reach 12,000 children.
2.1 FMP Materials
We adopted all FMP materials from CD. We used Kiswahili manuals at all the sites save for one group (Sudanese) at Kakuma Refugee camp where we used English manuals and audios. Other materials adopted from CDC include drawings, proverbs and flipcharts. We made enough copies for the groups at the sites. The core messages also remained the same.
2.2 Recruitment and Training of Facilitators
Adverts were put up at all sites and qualified person applied for the positions. Interviews for shortlisted candidates were conducted and best 25 candidates recruited. We organized facilitators training on 18th -24th August 2008 where twenty-four parents/guardians were trained.
2.3 Monitoring and Evaluation Tools
We adopted all the M & E tools from CDC. The monitoring forms were used by specific personnel in the program accordingly. There were site managers at all sites who worked hand in hand with the BCC team for monitoring purposes.
Some of the M & E tools are as follow:
ü Demographic Questionnaire
ü Attendance checklist
ü List of no show
ü Facilitator checklist
ü Facilitator observer form
ü Participants satisfaction questionnaire
2.4 Mobilization of Parents/Caregivers
We used already established IRC structures to mobilize parents for recruitment into the program. The Community Health Worker through the local administration mobilized parents for screening. We used recruitment guidelines from CDC and only parents who merited were recruited.
2.5 Intervention Waves
Sessions were delivered over 5- weeks starting November to early December 2008. Five out of the six sites conducted the first wave which was very successful. Participant satisfaction questionnaire was administered at session five and responses show that many parents liked the program and are practicing skills with their children.
Sessions were closely observed by the BCC team in liaison with the site managers. The team checked fidelity on the part of following procedures and gave feedback on facilitation skills where required.
The community provided venues free of charge and suggested days suitable for the intervention. The venues included churches and schools (schools were closed in November and December)
We are through with one wave -see below the break down of numbers reached:
|Site||No. of Facilitators Trained||No. of Parents reached in one wave||No. of children (9-12 yrs) reached by trained parents|
|Kakuma Refugee Camp||8||72||124|
2.8 Socio-Demographic Characteristics of Parents
- 96% attended at least 4 sessions
- Main reasons for not attending the sessions ( collecting rations, sickness and follow up of repatriation/resettlement)
- 70% of participants were females
- 90% biological parents
- 60% had at least attended primary school
- 70% homemakers
- 95% shared information (80% with adult in homestead, 90% with a child other than their own)
- 99% were confident to discuss sexually with their children after the wave
- 96% likely to continue while 96% helpful in talking to child about sexuality
- 98%recommend FMP to family or friend
Lessons Learned from Wave one
- Parents from different sites have different needs and should be handled differently
- Ongoing practice and mini trainings for some facilitators is important in sharpening their facilitation skills.
- It should not take long after the facilitators’ training for the program to start or else some facilitators deteriorate in facilitation skills due to lack of practice
- Supervision of facilitators critical for fidelity. Without close supervision some facilitators introduce their own things.
- To get enough parents for screening, proper Mobilization a key factor.
- The hot Turkana weather affect attendance especially in the afternoons
- Monitoring and evaluation documentation necessary
- Male caregivers attendance low because of the pastoral nature of the Turkana
- The program was a good reminder of the role of parents in teaching their children about sex education for safety and assisting their children to achieve their goals.
- Parents have acquired skills and tools of talking to and engaging their children on discussions and strengthening parent –child relationships on sexual matters.
- Parents displayed interest in all the sessions and this enhanced good turn up, active participation and sharing of experiences among themselves.
- The program led parents to the realization of their laxity, lack of confidence and a collective responsibility in safeguarding their children’s future.
- Generally parents appreciated the introduction of FMP and hoped that will be sustained so as to achieve its intended objectives.
- At the beginning of the program facilitators had difficult time introducing the topics on sexual issues since the parents were uncomfortable and lacked confidences in such discussions as dictated by traditional taboos that prohibit open discussions on sex. This made role playing sexual issues and mentioning of sexual organs hard, making the start slow and anxious.
- Dealing with parents was not easy in terms of strictness to time keeping as they had other roles a part from attending the sessions. This forced facilitators to be flexible on time keeping forcing some sessions to stretch past their scheduled time.
- Hot weather conditions, made learning a bit difficult for the adult learners especially afternoon sessions.
- In some sites the sessions were sometimes interrupted by other community activities like food distribution, disrupting sessions as participants gave priority to food, especially the female participants.
- Some parents had the doubt that the FMP might not work due to the current challenging environment between parents and children. This could be due to the little time spent by parents with their children. A situation that has made peer pressure more powerful than parental influence.
- The issue of participants’ allowances was a great challenge in most sites as participants complained of why there were no sitting allowances yet they were spending most of their time in the sessions.
- All sites were not able to hold graduation ceremony due to delays in T-shirts supply. Some parents were also asking for participation certificates, which the program was not able to cater for.
- Family planning issues brought a lot of debate as it is not common among the Turkana community.
- There was a notable change of parents’ mentalities after attending subsequent sessions, especially in freely sharing and confidently talking about sexual issues and willingness to be open with their children.
- Participants were grateful in the end and wished that the program would continue.
- Traditional believes should not be scape goats of the reality of the current situation on sexual issues.
- The new education spearheaded by FMP intervention sounds the best remedy of reducing the chronic fear among our communities. There was hope that soon our communities would have supportive parents and families.
Recommendations and Way Forward
- There is need for continuity of FMP intervention for its long term goals to be realized in the e community.
- Facilitators should be able to support parents in allaying fears and building confidence and skills in carrying out sex education and discussions with their children.
- Facilitators should ensure that time for sessions is enough and not comprise with the quality of the discussions by hurrying and entertaining lateness among participants.
- Participants should be helped to understand the importance of FMP to families and community and not look at the personal benefits in terms of allowances and certificates, which are not provided due to budgetary limitations.
- Contentious issue like Family planning should be explained in more tactiful manner by facilitation as it can derail the main issues in the discussions.
- Accurate and complete reports should be done on a weekly basis to FMP site managers in time.
- Graduation ceremony to be done after every wave to mark its climax.