Joint SDG Fund supports visitors and relatives of the Happy Child Programme to develop activities despite social isolation in Brazil
At Joênia Silva's house, in Campina Grande, capital of the state of Paraíba, in the northeast region of Brazil, even bath time became a moment to develop her son skills. Ruan, who is one year and ten months old, was delighted with the new activity created by his mother: a shower made from holes in a bottle filled with water. The idea came up when the family received guidance via cell phone from visitant Karla Pereira, from the Happy Child Program - an initiative of the Ministry of Citizenship that has been receiving support from the United Nations since the signing of the Joint SDG Fund, an agreement between the UN and the Brazilian government.
Before the pandemic, Ruan's family used to welcome the visitor at their home every week to carry out the Happy Child Program cognitive development activities. With the Covid-19 crisis, the little boy started to receive guidance virtually. That situation happened in several Brazilian municipalities, where visitors continued to produce content weekly remotely to accompany the children who receive assistance from the Program.
To assist in this mission, the UN agencies that are part of the Joint SDG in Brazil have developed a series of content to strengthen remote work with families across the country.
Professionals like Karla received weekly contents such as videos, podcasts, and informational materials focusing on families' emotional health, children's anxiety, activities to perform in the family environment, as well as information on violence and domestic accidents involving children, among other topics.
Karla states the visitors had to adapt to a new routine of contact with the families, now online. They began to use the themes of each week's materials to address issues related to daily life at home. For this, the visitor receives the contents and transforms them into audios, videos, and texts that are sent to families through messaging apps. "During the pandemic, we do not work once a week with the family, we are always staying in touch. It is no longer just during the home visits, it is all the time,” she says.
This new approach is already showing results for families. With the tips given by the visitor, Joênia learned how to turn everyday activities - moments of feeding and bathing, for example - into opportunities to encourage the autonomy and confidence of her son. Simple actions became options to develop the motor coordination of the child and expand the bond between mother and son. “The information I received helps me to encourage him and let him develop,” she says, happy for Ruan's development.
For Karla, this is one of the great victories she achieved as a visitor. In Campina Grande, she has been working on the various themes of the materials, always seeking to adapt the contents to the new reality caused by social isolation, which has increased family time at home. “The Happy Child Programme stands out to me because it does not only work with activities and the emotional bond with the child. It is a program that allows the family to be accompanied directly in their homes, where we can identify social demands and guide them,” says Karla.