This innovation has the following main objectives:
To enable teachers and parents to enhance children's social and emotional development, to understand signs and symptoms of common mental disorders and to replace the traditional harsh discipline of children with positive practices through the development of training manuals
To train teachers and parents, training manuals on child development and on mental disorders were prepared and validated. The manuals give guidelines to trainers on how to run participatory sessions. All manuals provide detailed but simple information to trainers on relevant issues. The manuals serve as a resource for trainers to provide answers to expected questions from parents. All trainings are accompanied by fliers on specific issues that parents take home after each training. The leaflets are assumed to be used by parents as quick reminders and to discuss with family members and neighbours.
Ten parent training manuals, in Amharic, were developed on the issues listed below. Lectures, group discussions and role playing scenarios were used to train 370 preschool teachers. The parental training is ongoing using similar methods.5,000 caretakers will be trained
Nine manuals were developed on how to enhance child development
- Physical, language, social and emotional, intellectual development (4 manuals)
- Child health and nutrition
- Enhancing sensory development and creativity through play
- Protecting children
- Optimizing interpersonal relationships
- Challenges of parenting in Ethiopia
One manual was developed on how to identify signs and symptoms of mental disorders. It included:
- List of common mental disorders
- Description of specific conditions
- Local views regarding attributions and remedies for specific conditions
- Available evidence based solutions (suggestions on how to prevent stressful situations for family members, to support persons with various types of mental problems and when help should be sought).
An educator’s manual was produced and validated on how to train parents on positive disciplining of children. It included:
- The definition of discipline (global and local traditional)
- Various situations for traditionally recommended disciplinary actions
- Types of disciplinary methods employed by Ethiopian parents
- Differences between positive disciplining and punishment and their expected outcomes
- Positives and negatives of positive discipline and corporal punishment based on evidence from literature and empirical findings in the local communities
The trainings on mental health and on child discipline have been given to over 300 teachers using group discussions, role play scenarios and lectures. The teachers have been training the parents of children in their respective schools.
To provide mental health services to children and their primary caretakers
The innovation also involves the provision of treatment and follow up for children and adults in the target group with behaviour/mental problems. SRI has partnered with two government clinics to allow referred cases to get mostly free treatment. SRI covers the costs to buy medications from the private vendors when free medications are unavailable in the government hospitals. Treatment for children consists of behaviour therapy, family therapy and parental training while treatment for adults involves psychotherapy and drug treatment. So far the over 60 children and over 40 adults have been treated after being referred from schools.