Parenting for Lifelong Health is a collaboration of academics, UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and NGOs to develop and test non-commercialised parenting programmes for low and middle income countries.
The ‘Sinovuyo Teen Program’ is 14 sessions attended by parents and their adolescents, developed by Oxford University, Clowns Without Borders South Africa and the University of Cape Town. It is free to use, can be led by local community members, and can be held in any location - community halls, churches or under a tree. The program has undergone three adaptation stages, been tested in two pilot studies (n=300 participants), and now has results from a large-scale cluster randomised controlled trial in South Africa’s Eastern Cape (n=1100 participants, 40 urban and rural sites, completed 2017). Findings show reductions in child abuse, increases in involved parenting, improvements in mental health, reductions in substance use and improvements in family budgeting and economic outcomes, using both child and caregiver reports. With UNICEF, we also conducted qualitative research that identified important considerations for culture and scale-up.
The Sinovuyo Teen program has now been translated into a suite of Parenting for Lifelong Health manuals for use by facilitators and parents of young children and teenagers. These manuals have now been translated and adapted for implementation in seven countries in Africa. In 2017, 152,000 families will have participated in the programme. The manuals are available on the World Health Organisation website. This research is of immediate necessity in promoting child safety and development in low and middle income settings. It also goes beyond the state of the art in innovation, collaboration, and a commitment to the active engagement of science with policy and civil society.