An evaluation of the effectiveness of a community-based parenting empowerment program to improve nurturing care of young children in Kenya and Zambia

Patricia K. Wekulo, Elizabeth K. Murage, Hermann P. Donfouet, Silas O. Onyango, Kenneth O. Okelo, Milka N. Wanjohi, Dawn Murdock, George Nyamor, Kelvin Munsongo


Background: Investing in parents and children during the critical period between birth and five years of a child’s life can have long-lasting benefits in the life of the child. Recently, the 2016 Lancet Series estimated that 250 million children aged less than five years in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential. Over 66 % of these, who live in sub-Saharan Africa and are at risk due to poor nutrition, exposure to poverty, high HIV prevalence as well as under stimulation in the home environment.

Methods: The study will employ a cluster-randomized control trial design and will use a mixed-methods approach combining quantitative and qualitative methodologies (Concurrent Triangulation Design). This will be a two-arm study, where the first arm will participate in the parenting empowerment program implemented by the faith-based organizations, while the second (control) will not receive the parenting interventions. A total of 510 mother/primary caregiver-child dyads will be recruited into this study. We will estimate the causal effect of the intervention using mixed linear models and the Difference-in-Differences (DID) estimator.

Conclusions:  This implementation research will provide greater scientific rigor and a deeper process and outcome evaluation including measurement of child development outcomes. The findings will be useful for early childhood practitioners, multilateral stakeholders and funders as they provide information on the factors to consider in the implementation of high quality ECD interventions.

Trial Registration: Ethical approval: ESRC P467/2018 and IRB No.00005948).


Child development, Early childhood, Nurturing care, Stimulation, Parenting empowerment

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