In a nutshell
The Sinovuyo Caring Families Programme for Parents and Teens Ages 10 to 17 aims to reduce the risk of violence against children and improve child wellbeing amongst at-risk families. The programme is a group-based parenting intervention grounded in collaborative social learning behavioural change techniques.
What we do
In South Africa, many parents and children are exposed to multiple challenges, including violence, ill-health and poverty. These may increase the risk of poor parenting and child abuse.
The Sinovuyo Teen Programme aims to strengthen the relationship between adolescent and caregiver by increasing effective parenting skills and decreasing violent forms of discipline. The programme also targets a range of secondary outcomes including positive parenting practices, social support, mental health, and family capacity to plan for keeping adolescents safe in the community.
It actively engages parents and teens in improving parent-teen relationships and promoting positive parenting strategies through non-didactic methods such as group discussions, illustrated vignettes of parent-child interaction, role-plays to practice parenting skills, home activities assignments, and collective problem solving. The programme is also designed to be relevant in contexts with high HIV-prevalence, with an enhanced HIV-version available for the programme for parents and teens. This programme also includes modules around budgeting, risk identification, and conflict management.
The Sinovuyo Caring Families Programme for Parents and Teens (Sinovuyo Teens) was developed by the Parenting for Lifelong Health, an initiative led by individuals from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Universities of Bangor, Cape Town, Oxford, Reading, and Stellenbosch. As part of the Parenting for Lifelong Health - Prototype Implementation Network (PLH-PIN), Clowns Without Borders South Africa (CWBSA) is responsible for the dissemination of the PLH programmes for families with children ages 2 to 9 years (Sinovuyo Kids) and 10 to 17 years (Sinovuyo Teen). These programmes were developed in South Africa and are locally known as the Sinovuyo Caring Families Programmes.
How we do it
The Sinovuyo Teen Programme is group-based, 14-week parenting programme that uses social learning and parent management training principles to reduce the risk of violence against young people in at-risk families with 10–17 year olds. Trained community facilitators with deliver the programme in a group-based format with joint (10 sessions) and separate parent-teen sessions (4 sessions).
Families participate in the weekly sessions that introduce them to core relationship building and violence prevention skills. These skills include establishing special time for parents and adolescents, specific and immediate praise, dealing with stress and anger, establishing rules and responsibilities and responding to crises.
Delivery utilises a collaborative learning approach, with activity-based learning, role-play and home practice in order to strengthen skills. Home visits are also incorporated into the programme for those participants that require additional support because they have missed sessions.
What we have achieved
The programme underwent pre-pilot testing (2013, Hamburg, 30 dyads) and pilot testing (2014, King Williams Town, 117 dyads) and has recently completed a 6 month follow up of a randomised-controlled trial (Kings Williams Town, 600 dyads) in order to determine whether programme outcomes are being achieved. The results to date from the pilot studies indicate that the Sinovuyo Teen programme led to a significant reduction of levels of violence against children. The results from the 6 follow-up of participants will be available in January 2017.
The programme is currently being scaled up in the Eastern Cape through two implementing partners, the National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW) and the Department of Social Development.
What we have learned
The following key lessons were learned from the trial and scale up:
- Preliminary signs of effectiveness: The Sinovuyo Teen Programme showed preliminary signs of effectiveness in reducing violence against children. However, results must be treated with caution due to the absence of a control group to compare treatment effects.
- Strong programme delivery: Results from the process evaluation show that the Sinovuyo Teen Programme can be delivered with strong fidelity to programme protocols by community facilitators with limited experience. This demonstrates the importance of providing sufficient training throughout the programme, including ongoing mentorship and supervision.
- Strong programme participation: Programme enrolment was extremely high (over 95% attended at least one session) indicating a strong level of interest by families in participating in programmes that support positive parent-teen interaction.
- Strong programme diffusion: Many families reported starting their own Sinovuyo community groups during and after the programme in which they shared principles, skills, and activities with other families. This is an intended result of the programme that may have very promising positive effects in shifting parenting norms and reducing violence at a population level.
- Supporting highly vulnerable families with home consultations: The programme was initially designed to be a group-based intervention for parents and teens. However, we realised that adaptation was necessary to increase inclusion of more vulnerable families with elderly or infirm caregivers. As a result, we added a home visit consultation component, called Khaya Katchups, to boost participation.
- Supporting programme logistics: Programme delivery in multiple villages and peri-urban township areas requires a high degree of logistical coordination at the level of implementation. We recommend that future projects be adequately staffed in order to assure that the programme is implemented smoothly on both a logistic and programmatic level.
- Allocating sufficient time for programme preparation: In 2014, only 5 days were allocated to pre-programme home consultations and preparation for parent-teen group sessions. Logistically, a team of facilitators can visit an average of 3 families per day depending on families’ schedules and the location of homes in rural villages and peri-urban township areas.
- Addressing financial insecurity: During the implementation of Sinovuyo Teen Programme, we realised the importance of addressing financial stress and potential conflict due to families’ experience of acute economic deprivation in the rural Eastern Cape. Thus, we developed additional sessions on economic strengthening and communicating about finances.
- Strengthening partnerships: Given the complexity of implementing a programme with multiple stakeholders, it is important to assure strong communication and collaboration with all of the implementing partners.