We’re so excited to share with you the findings from our Little Ripples December 2015 Assessment. Every year, we conduct baseline and follow-up assessments to measure the impact of Little Ripples on the social-emotional, cognitive and physical health of children. Recently, in December 2015, we were able to measure some of the children who have been attending the Little Ripples School for two years, as well as take baseline measurements of children newly attending our first in-home Little Ripples Ponds, and a control group. You can read the full report here: Little Ripples December 2015 Assessment.
KEY BASELINE FINDINGS
- Less than half of children in all groups exhibited a range of positive emotional and social characteristics. Only 33% were described by their caregivers as ‘always’ or ‘often’ being independent, sharing toys with others, showing interest when others are hurt or upset, getting along well with others, helping with chores, and obeying their parents’ instructions.
- Approximately 60-75% of caregivers reported negative social/emotional indicators among their children such as being unhappy, restless, having a blank demeanor, or being violent with other children.
- Performance on key academic indicators such as naming colors and animals, counting, and reciting the Arabic alphabet were low among all groups with very few children able to complete the tasks posed to them.
- Acute health conditions remain common among Darfuri refugee children with approximately 50% of parents reporting their children experienced diarrhea and a cough. Sickness with vomiting was also reported by nearly 50% of the control group but less common among children registered with Little Ripples.
- Basic hygiene, including covering mouth when coughing, washing hands after using the latrine, and washing before meals are critical components of the program. New children at both the Pond and the control group reported considerable room for improvement with many reporting that they ‘never’ or only ‘sometimes’ practice these behaviors.
- Many Little Ripples and control children show signs of malnutrition including stunting and wasting according to World Health Organization height-for-age and weight-for-age standards.
- More than half of mothers interviewed (55%) reported that they have had a child who passed away.
As practitioners, it’s easy for us to get lost in the data and jargon of monitoring and evaluation. The M&E as referred to in this field, allows us to learn about the impact of our work so we can make adjustments as we go and share key learnings with stakeholders, donors, peers, and the general public. But in publishing our findings, I’m reminded that it’s important never to lose sight of the faces and names that Little Ripples was created for – young Darfuri children living in isolated refugee camps. The future of Darfuri children will be shaped by their experiences in their camps. A lack of positive connections and associations during the critical years of three to six can severely impede development well into adulthood. Eighty-five percent of brain development occurs before the age of five, including the foundation for social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Yet, despite the overwhelming science and understanding, early childhood development for refugee children is not mandated nor emphasized in the current humanitarian strategy. So, we evaluate, we conduct assessments and we hope that each time we assign ID numbers and produce data and statistics on young children interacting with our program, we are, more importantly, advancing and shaping global efforts and policies to improve care and education for the millions of young refugee children globally.
DID YOU KNOW?
In 2013, iACT first opened a Little Ripples school with six classrooms in camp Goz Amer to serve 400 children. Based on the success of the program and the need to expand to reach thousands of children more efficiently, Little Ripples now operates in the home compounds of refugees, as Little Ripples Ponds, serving 135 children.
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