What: The Reinforcement of Parental Practices (RPP) Module was launched in March 2013 after a successful pilot program in 2012. The module aims to reinforce knowledge gained in the Community Empowerment Program (CEP) that encourages parents and other community members to create an environment for children’s development. As a result, the module will help improve children’s early development and learning, allowing them to perform better and stay in school. 

Why: Research has shown that certain social norms and traditional practices in Senegal can hinder the brain development of infants. For example, the belief that infants must be protected from dangerous spirits: to protect them certain parents avoid looking newborn babies in the eye and speaking regularly and directly to them. However, recent discoveries about brain development in young children have shown the importance of stimulating interactions between parents and their children.

How: During the RPP Module, facilitators share with community members simple techniques that enrich interactions between parents and their young children and are all linked to children’s basic human rights to education and health. These techniques include speaking to their young children using a rich and complex vocabulary, asking their children questions and helping them respond, playfully copying their children, telling them stories, and describing objects in detail to them.

The project works very closely with the school system in Senegal with over 232 School Management Committees being created or reinforced, and 690 teachers and school directors directly involved in the program.

Who: This module is implemented in 200 Wolof, Pulaar, and Mandinka communities in five regions of Senegal.

Impact & Sustainability: By applying the knowledge gained during the Reinforcement of Parental Practices Module, parents and community members will give children an excellent start in their social, linguistic, and emotional growth. This healthy development will in turn lead to more children staying in and performing better in school.

Four Year-Old Sabouli Reads Aloud to His Community for the First Time

In the Spring of 2012, four year-old Sabouli read a children’s book aloud to his community, Kataba Laobe, in the Sédhiou region of Senegal in his local language. Sabouli was one of the first children to benefit from Tostan’s Reinforcement of Parental Practices Module.