Reinforcement of Parental Practices Module
The Reinforcement of Parental Practices (RPP) Module was launched in March 2013 after a successful pilot program in 2012. The RPP module builds on the knowledge learned in Tostan’s foundational Community Empowerment Program (CEP) and leads to parents and other family and community members working together to create an environment that strengthens children’s mental and physical development. Tostan helps equip communities to promote quality parent-child interactions, facilitate young children’s brain development, guarantee that children’s rights are respected, reduce corporal punishment of children and help children to enter school much better prepared to learn and succeed.
Advances in neuroscience over the past years have shown that the most important period for a child’s brain development is from birth to three years old. According to Tostan’s research in many resource-poor, rural communities, many current Early Childhood Development (ECD) practices are based on traditional beliefs. Parents often stated they believe that they, as parents who themselves had never been to school, could make little or no contribution to their infant’s intellectual development. Thus, they have acted with the best of intentions, not realizing that many of their traditional child-rearing practices may, according to recent neuroscience research, actually hinder cognitive stimulation.
In the RPP Module, facilitators share simple techniques that enrich interactions between parents and their young children and which are all linked to children’s basic human rights to education and health. These techniques include speaking to children using a rich and complex vocabulary, asking them questions and helping them respond, playfully copying their behavior, telling them stories, and describing objects in detail to them.
This module was piloted in 32 Wolof, Pulaar and Mandinka communities in 2012 and then extended to 310 communities from 2013-2016 and to 120 new communities with funding from UNICEF in 2017 (a total of 462 communities).
As part of a new collaboration with our partner Vroom, Tostan is currently implementing a new round of the RPP program in 30 communities in the District of Medina Yoro Foulah (Senegal) and is, at the same time, selecting and adapting processes to share with class participants and community members to provide more practical ways for parents to put their new knowledge into action. Tostan is also using its extensive experience in supporting positive social norms change to enable communities to transform current practices that are accepted as unwritten social norms that can limit ECD practices, a process that goes beyond individual behaviour change and requires focus on collective change.
To date, this program has been implemented in 462 Wolof, Pulaar and Mandinka communities in eight regions of Senegal. It is currently being implemented in 30 Pulaar communities in the Medina Yoro Foulah region of Senegal. 462 religious leaders from partner communities have also been trained on the content of the program, so that they can encourage good early childhood development practices during community ceremonies and Friday sermons. More than 300,000 children’s books have been distributed to participants in this programme.
Impact & Sustainability
By applying the knowledge learned during the RPP, parents and community members can give children an excellent start in their social, linguistic and emotional development. This healthy development will in turn result in improved academic performance and later success in life in general.
Nurturing the Next Generation of Learners
This short film celebrates the exciting work underway with rural communities in Senegal as part of the RPP Module, wherein parents and caregivers are learning new ways to engage with their infants and cultivate the early brain development that is so crucial for life-long development.
To see the RPP in action, click here to access a playlist of videos demonstrating how to read to young children in a way that is at once engaging and enriching.