“If it’s a first-time mother, she can’t take care of a newborn very well. It’s the grandmother who takes care of the baby, bathes him and shows the mother how to breastfeed him, how to recognize when he is sick… it’s around the fourth month that the mother can take care of the baby well.”
Results from DMI’s study on current childcare practices and early childhood development (ECD) activities in rural Burkina Faso have been published in BMJ Global Health.
As part of the study, parents and caregivers were introduced to the benefits of engaging positively with young children (under 3 years old). Caregivers were given demonstrations of how to engage with young children; with a focus on interactive ways of talking, playing and praising. One week later, reactions and experiences were collected from the parents and caregivers and these were analysed.
The study found that within this context, caregivers tend to be instructive when interacting with small children, with limited interactivity. However, parents were open to adopting new practices and observed positive changes in their children. One father described the benefits of playing with his baby:
“I played with him, I also talked with him. And since I started that, when I come back [home] on my bike, my child crawls towards me. And it’s because of the fact that I played with him.”
The findings emphasised the importance of tailoring all ECD interventions to the local sociocultural context and of promoting activities that fit the daily routines of the community.
A big thank you goes out to Dubai Cares, without whose funding this study would not have been possible, as well as our research partners at UCL and beyond. And of course, to our teams in Burkina Faso and London.
To read the full article, click here.