Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) is the first open access, evidence-based suite of child abuse prevention programmes for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), having reached an estimated 300,000 families in 22 LMICs within four years of successful randomised trials. While offered for free for families, the scalability of the programme is limited due to the cost, complexity, accessibility and context of in-person delivery. Online and app-based interventions have the potential to expand access.
To address delivery and access barriers, PLH for Teens has been adapted to be delivered digitally, as a self-guided application called ParentApp for Teens (ParentApp). The app is open source and is developed for offline use. The iterative development of a basic version of the app was carried out with families in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya, and with parenting trainers at the NGO, Clowns Without Borders South Africa. User testing of an early version of ParentApp was conducted with a Pan African group of caregivers from eight African countries.
The current project activities are focused in Tanzania and is divided into three phases. Phase one of the project will establish the acceptability of the intervention, adapt it for the Tanzanian context and explore the feasibility of hybrid human-digital delivery led by local implementing partners. Phase two will use a sequence of randomised factorial experiments to optimise engagement and retention in the intervention to lay the groundwork for further testing and scale-up. Phase three will rigorously test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness through a randomised controlled trial delivered at scale through local implementing partners in Tanzania.
ParentApp for Teens is a collaboration between the Centre for Evidence Based Interventions at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at University of Oxford, the Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents Hub at the Centre for Social Science Research at University of Cape Town, Innovations in Development, Education and the Mathematical Sciences (IDEMS International,) and the National Institute for Medical Research, Mwanza, Tanzania.