Empathy in action

Every child should be cared for. Every caregiver should be equipped. The International Child Development Programme (ICDP) aims to do just this in a multitude of different global contexts, “in order to stimulate development that is authentic, sustainable and long-lasting.” ACT has been partnering in the first-ever rollout of this programme in Tunisia, with our partners Bright Women Association of Today and Nodepa.

Following the launch, we asked the ACT team members involved to share their thoughts.

We are gathered with 20 people in a conference room in Hammamet. Professionals from care centers working with children with challenges like disabilities, addiction, and violence at home are intently looking to the trainers who came from Norway to give the first ICDP training in Tunisia.

 

The trainers didn’t come to bring a recipe – every child is different and needs a different approach. Instead, they came with 8 guidelines for us as professional caregivers and parents. We can change ourselves, the image we have of the child in front of us and the interactions we have with him. Is the child stubborn? Maybe just full of energy. Shy? He could be very sensitive. We can put ourselves in the child’s position and all of a sudden understand how uncertain he or she can feel when are asked something that is way over his or her head. Can you translate a Chinese document into Norwegian?

 

Oh, and don’t think of a pink elephant! Did you succeed? Probably not. In the same way, it is better praise a child for good behavior than to tell him not to be so … [fill in the blank]. It’s only after the foundational guidelines, that regulation through boundaries is introduced along with being an example in showing and naming our own emotions.

ICPD Tunisia

ICDP started in 1992 in Norway and has since spread to over 50 countries. We are excited to join Associations BWAT and Nodepa in their beautiful mission to now implement ICDP in Tunisia.

The first group, who started their training in the beginning of September, will run until summer 2024. In between the training weekends on location they will put their learning into practice by using the guidelines in their home and work settings, making a home-video of their interactions with a child, and facilitating a learning group to share the methodology with other parents and caregivers.

Before launching future groups and eventually helping interested facilitators become Tunisian trainers for the ICDP method, this first group is also involved in contextualizing the program. What are Tunisian ways of expressing love? Which examples of child raising need to be taken into account in this context?

Shared vision

It was encouraging to all be gathered around the same dream. From different regions of the country, different workplaces and different professions; together to build up Tunisia’s next generation.

 

How? By working on ourselves and supporting other parents and caregivers in doing the same. Growing in love and care and improving the quality of our interactions with children by seeing them for the valuable and unique creatures that they are!

ACT is excited to see this work continue to take root and bring fruit!