A mother finds guidance and support during COVID-19 pandemic

UNICEF-supported family clubs provide guidance and support during the pandemic

Karim Hamed
A mother finds guidance and support during COVID-19 pandemic
UNICEF/Egypt 2020/Mohamed Ragaa
28 January 2021

“We were all freaking out during the lockdown, and I didn’t know how to deal with my children during the COVID-19 pandemic”, said Aida Idris, a Sudanese mother of 4 children who receives support and counselling at a family club within el Amrawi Primary Health Unit (PHU) in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city.

Since 2017, UNICEF has been supporting family clubs within PHUs to give access to critical health and child protection services and activities reaching 86,000 refugee migrants and host communities children through 39 family clubs in 16 governorates Cairo, Giza, Qalubia, Alexandria, Damietta , Sharqia, Beheira, Gharbia, Matrouh, Red Sea, Aswan, Ismailia, Port Said, Monofia, Kafr Elsheikh and Dakahlia.

Also, the utilities which are offered under the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) are part of the ministry’s effort to promote the PHU services by citizens and migrants, such as immunization and growth monitoring assistance.

“We learned here at the family club how to protect our children from the coronavirus, and I was also taught how to make toys for my children to keep them entertained during the long exhausting hours of the lockdown”, Aida added.  

On a parallel front, the Family clubs and centers are associated with Child Protection Committees (CPCs) at the district and governorate level, allowing for comprehensive case management and referral whenever deemed necessary.

“I overcame many of my parenting challenges and now I’m well aware of all the parenting tips which would help me discipline my children without harming them in any possible way” said Idris.

Furthermore, the Positive Parenting Program implemented through these clubs aim to support parents in broadening their parenting capacity to improve family relationships, relieve the stress associated with parenting; especially, during the global pandemic, and develop strategies for disciplining their children in various positive ways.

Aida noted that “my children enjoy coming to the family clubs to participate and play with other children, not to mention, the joy they experience when they do activities such as painting, and coloring.” 

Through UNICEF-supported Family centers and clubs, children can access an array of activities, including art classes, storytelling, handicrafts, sports, theatre and choir.

Worthy of note, there are age-tailored programs within the family clubs offering recreational activities for children under 12 years of age, while adolescents up to 19 years can enjoy life skills programs, including computer classes and English language lessons.

This programme is implemented with the generous support of the United States’ Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM), which provides flexible funds to support the family club’s initiative.  

On a parallel front, the programme aiming at integrating migrant children and youth into the community is supported under the Prospects program – a partnership between the NetherlandsIFCILOUNHCR and UNICEF.”.