The Global Parenting Initiative Opens its Doors

A person and a child looking at a mobile phone

The Global Parenting Initiative (GPI) hosted its official online launch on December 8 2022. The event launched the GPI’s five-year plan to support the scale-up and institutionalisation of evidence-based playful parenting programmes in the Global South, and worldwide, with the aim of preventing violence against children and equipping parents and caregivers with the tools to help their children realise their full developmental potential.

Dr Jamie Lachman, Director of Research at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, is spearheading the project. He and his team were responsible for the UNICEF endorsed Covid19 Parenting resources which supported over 210 million families worldwide during the pandemic.

Dr Lachman said ‘This is a very exciting and ambitious project. This kind of innovative, human-digital parenting support at scale hasn’t been seen before. The pandemic taught us that parents and caregivers across the world urgently need effective parenting support that is relevant to their lives and responsive to the challenges they experience. The Global Parenting Initiative will provide this.’

The launch event was well attended by members of the global violence prevention community, with speakers from the World Health Organisation, The LEGO Foundation, the Early Childhood Development Action Network, the Oak Foundation, and the Universities of Oxford, Cape Town, Makerere and Ateneo de Manila. 

The GPI, which started its work earlier this year, is a collaboration of universities, foundations, and implementing partners, with the aim of providing access to free, evidence-based, playful parenting support. Its playful parenting programmes, which are endorsed by UNICEF and the WHO, have been developed in collaboration with families across the Global South, and are especially designed for large-scale delivery in low-and-middle income countries. 

Mr Stephen Blight, Senior Advisor for Child Protection at UNICEF Headquarters, commented on the launch. ‘UNICEF is delighted to be collaborating with the Global Parenting Initiative to realise our collective goal of universal access to evidence-based parenting programmes. The initiative will provide much needed innovation and evidence to support the scale up of in-person, remote, digital, and hybrid parenting programmes to reduce violence against children and improve child learning and development. We are very excited to learn alongside the GPI in the coming years.’

The Global Parenting Initiative is a collaboration of academic partners, implementing partners, and foundations in Europe, the UK, Africa, and Asia. Partners include the University of Oxford, University of Cape Town, Makerere University, McMaster University, the National Institute for Medical Research, Stellenbosch University, University Putra Malaysia, Ateneo de Manila University, Parenting for Lifelong Health, Peace Culture Foundation, IDEMS, and Clowns Without Borders South Africa. 

The GPI’s interagency collaborators include UNICEF, WHO, the Global Initiative to Support Parents, the Early Childhood Development Action Network, and the Global Partnership to End Violence. Their work is supported by The LEGO Foundation, Oak Foundation, World Childhood Foundation, the Human Safety Net and UK Research and Innovation Fund.

The initiative aims to provide 25.7 million families in the Global South with free, evidence-based playful parenting support, reaching 250 million children by 2030.

Find out more about the Global Parenting Initiative