Young children in Bangladesh face multiple risks that can prevent them from developing to their full potential. Low birth weight is estimated to affect 22% of newborns in Bangladesh, 36% of children under 5 are severely or moderately underweight, and 41% of children under 5 are stunted (UNICEF 2015). In response to this situation, Save the Children implements an ECD program targeting children younger than 3 and their families to support holistic child development. As a result, over the course of 15 visits to a community clinic or through receiving home visits, parents learn effective practices related to health, nutrition and early stimulation that support their child’s healthy development. The program is built on a collaborative partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in Bangladesh. The partnership was formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) after Save the Children shared positive results of a rigorous pilot study of this program. Program components include:
- Training frontline government health, nutrition, and family planning service providers in early stimulation and holistic child development over 4 days with a curriculum focused on integrating nutrition and early stimulation messages in visits with parents of young children.
- Frontline service providers conducting monthly home visits or one-on-one community clinic counseling sessions with participating families to advise them on effective parenting practices.
- Giving each community clinic a set of materials that include child development cards, which frontline workers distribute to families. Child development cards are divided by child age (e.g., pregnancy to birth, birth-6 months, 6-12 months, 1-2 years and 2-3 years) and visually depict the activity that parents are encouraged to conduct with their child including health, nutrition and early stimulation activities focused on language, communication, and play.
- Monitoring program implementation at community clinics and through home visits.