CHILD project

CHILD Project
CHILDREN'S INTEGRATED LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT


Go to The CHILD Project Web site at:
http://www.inmu.mahidol.ac.th/CHILD/


Implementing Institution
Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, Salaya, Thailand
Project Director
Kraisid Tontisirin, M.D., Ph.D.
Principal Investigators
George A. Attig, A.M., Suvannee Promchan, M.Sc., and Nipa Rojroongwasinkul, M.Sc.
Funding Agency
UNICEF Office for Thailand
Project Commencement
January 1997

Summary

The CHILD project is an integrated, area-based development initiative undertaken by local stakeholders who seek to make positive child-centred improvements in family and community environments. It co-ordinates both appropriate information technologies for child learning with social mobilisation efforts to improve children's rights. Rather than focusing on pieces of the child-usually depending upon the sector concerned-this project treats the "whole" child in terms of securing his/her survival, development and protection needs, in the context of his/her family, school and community, and with his/her active participation in the development process. The project uses child learning as its initial entry point since:

    (i) it is more easily understood and embraced by the local people than the more abstract term of "child rights,"

    (ii) it is a maximally integrative concept due to its direct relationship with key child survival, development, protection and participation issues, and

    (iii) how well children are doing in school is everyone's concern.

Project Coverage

The CHILD project covers eight provinces (Ubolratchatani, Sakhon Nakhon, Bangkok, Khon Kaen, Lumphon, Nakhon Sawan, Chiang rai, Chiang mai) in Thailand's Northern, Northeastern and Central regions. Within these provinces, over 100 schools and communities as well as approximately 18,000 students are participating in the project.

Ultimate Objective

1.Specific Objectives
To strengthen and preserve children's rights, in line with CRC, using child learning as the integrating concept.

1. To establish a school-based management information system (MIS) for child learning that will enable schools, families and communities to:

    1.1 identify children with learning difficulties, and the individual, family, school and community causes for their learning faltering,

    1.2 identify and undertake effective school-, family- and/or community-based interventions to eliminate the causes of learning faltering and improve child learning, and

    1.3 monitor and evaluate the impact of innovative teaching/learning methods on child learning.

2. To mobilise community and sub-district organisations to improve child learning and child rights by improving conditions in home, community and sub-district environments.

Objective 1

Strategies (MIS)

Using appropriate information technologies, assist schools to recognise and act on factors affecting child learning

Provide information to support decision-making on interventions to improve child learning and community development

Assess the impact of changes in individual and collective child learning

Activities

  1. Project staff build a rapport with teachers and students, then conduct orientation sessions on the concept of child learning for local human resource development and child rights sensitisation.

  2. After training, teachers and students create a simple computer spreadsheet called a children's learning profile. To construct this spreadsheet, teachers and students compile and computerise all student educational scores as well as their health and nutrition status and absenteeism rate. Working with parents, they also identify, collect and computerise important family information for each child that may affect his/her learning.1 (NOTE: a non-computer model is also available for schools without computers.)

  3. Teachers evaluate children's learning performance by identifying normal learning versus frequency and patterning of Temporary, Sporadic and Chronic learning faltering (T = failure up to 25% of terms; S = failure 25-50% of terms; C = chronic failure for 50+% terms). They also identify potential causes for learning faltering as correlated with family background information.

  4. Teachers, parents and community members undertake school-, family- and/or community-based interventions to correct the causes of learning faltering, and report causes to sub-district and district development agencies to address those that cross-cut several communities.

  5. Teachers and community leaders use educational profiles to track changes in child learning over time (e.g., before and after introduction of new learning techniques); identify and undertake further improvements; re-evaluate.


Note 1: Common causes for child learning faltering are: low parental education, lack of a secondary occupation, high landownership, low average monthly income, parental (especially father) migration, high absenteesim

Outputs

  • Improved student learning performance

  • Parent/family-teacher conferences to discuss student progress and supportive actions

  • Greater incorporation of parents and community members in school educational planning

  • Active participation of students and especially student health volunteers in school-based growth monitoring activities as well as iodine deficiency disorders prevention

  • Adoption of peer-to-peer and participatory learning methods as well as life skills development by teachers

  • Teacher training in action research for child learning

  • Greater availability and/or use of appropriate technologies for education, such as computers and audio-visual aids, whenever possible purchased with community funds

  • Establishment or improvement of school libraries, community resource centres for child development and protection, and inter-school/inter-student learning networks

  • Better quality and regularity of school lunch programs and facilities to improve child nutrition and health status

  • Establishment of community day care centres to improve preschool child care and sibling school attendance



Objective 2

Strategies (Social Mobilisation for Child Rights)

Mobilise local stakeholders to undertake plans and actions to fulfil unmet child rights needs at school, family, community, sub-district and district levels

Assess the impact of development efforts in fulfilling child rights priorities

Activities

  1. Project staff conduct child rights sensitisation workshops (i.e., Future Search, AIC) with stakeholders to generate commitment and identify actions to improve the development of children, their families and communities (participants: children, community members, teachers, sub-district, district and provincial representatives).

  2. Community stakeholders identify what "child rights" concretely means to them based on their own knowledge and experience.

  3. Stakeholders design, shortlist and prioritise their own local child rights indicators on an equal partnership basis.

  4. Stakeholders create school, community and sub-district linkages to: (i) determine infringements on children's rights, and (ii) identify and undertake interventions with support from community, sub-district and district level authorities to strengthen and preserve children's rights.

  5. Stakeholders establish sub-district and district-based mechanisms to monitor the status of children's rights, as well as referral systems and protocols for dealing with critical child rights issues.

  6. Stakeholders establish local partnerships with governmental agencies, NGOs, the private sector, etc. to secure ongoing assistance and facilitate sustainability.

  7. Stakeholders use family background profiles to track changes in family/community development over time; undertake modifications if necessary; initiate new activities; re-evaluate.



Outputs

  • Establishment of reliable school transportation systems to increase children's access to schools (e.g., availability of buses and bicycles)

  • Provision of scholarships for post-primary education, especially to children at risk of migration and entrance into the labour force

  • Provision of vocational or non-formal education opportunities for out-of-school children and youth, including those who have disabilities or are returning migrants affected by the economic crisis

  • Improvement in the quality and responsiveness of basic social services and infrastructures (e.g., water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, development of community medical outreach programmes for disabled children and caregivers, school salt iodization)

  • Inter-personal awareness building through sub-district campaigns aimed at families at risk of sending their children into the labour force

  • Development and dissemination of child rights media (e.g., posters, folk songs, comics, life skills manuals, child protection information sheets and booklets)

  • Development of family strengthening support groups to identify needy families, disabled children, children with special learning needs, etc. and provide them with resource materials, improved access to health and social welfare services as well as alternative educational opportunities, emergency financial assistance, counselling, etc.

  • Increased opportunities for children's participation in community service projects, especially those aimed at assisting disadvantaged children and families



Sustainability

The CHILD project's school-based MIS as well as its social mobilisation process have now been accepted by Thailand's Office of the National Primary Education Commission for nationwide application as part of its Child-Friendly School initiative.



For more information about the CHILD project, please contact:

George A. Attig, A.M.
Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University at Salaya
Phutthamonthon, Nakhon Pathom 73170, Thailand
Fax No. (662) 441-9344, 441-9345
Email: frgat@mahidol.ac.th



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