To care for a child, the care of the whole community is needed. With this belief, YWAM Mercy helped one Ba Vi village build a local trainer team to mobilize parents, families, schools and the whole community in caring for children.
The 16 women selected represent 16 residential clusters in the village. Since 2008, this group of women has visited families with pregnant women, or children from 0-6 years-old, to share information about Early Childhood Development. They educate families on caring for and raising children, preventing accidents and injuries, and skills for communicating with children. They encourage families to play together, to tell stories, and to read books with their children. They are also able to answer any questions or concerns that parents might have.
Local trainer consulting with a parent
Every week, each local trainer spends 2 or 3 nights visiting households. They spend time chatting casually with pregnant mothers and parents to build rapport, a strong foundation on which to share on Early Childhood Development topics.
Each trainer receives a communication dairy containing all the details about the children/pregnant mothers in her region of the village. During each visit she records what she observes, the content she trained, and changes she sees about how the family is providing care. This guides her planning so she can be most helpful during the next visit.
Local Trainers group photo
Local trainers performing in a Early Childhood Development focused communication night
On the first Tuesday of each month, the entire team of local trainers meets together to report results and share lessons learned during their visits and training.
The Local Trainer Team is so close to the families, they are able to identify special needs. Because of this, YWAM Mercy has provided Humanitarian Assistance in some cases. We have helped with building houses, toilets & bathrooms; funding medical examinations and treatment for children with disabilities; support for disabled children; tuition assistance for children in extremely difficult circumstances; and providing bicycles for students who live far from schools.
When we started, having local trainers was a new model but it has proved to be very effective in unifying all the entities that care for children and has made the work we have done in the community more successful. An unexpected outcome is their effectiveness in creating bridges between families, schools and local organizations, strengthening the community over all.
This local trainer team has contributed to bringing a new awareness of better child rearing practices to the whole community. The practices they promote have spread widely, broadly improving the lives of children in the village.