“Great Beginnings: Giving infants better Outcomes” is a grass roots project to rebuild stable and healthy relationships and families in disadvantaged communities of the Western Cape, South Africa, (using an adapted version of the GOTTMAN Bringing Baby Home program), thus strengthening the social structure.
While being respectful of cultural differences and by adapting and creating a “context specific” manual, “Great Beginnings” will train Community and Faith based leaders living in the Townships (who have already shown great enthusiasm to be involved), to improve couples’ relationships particularly with carers of the most vulnerable, at risk infants.
By equipping the Care Givers with better communication and conflict management skills, plus creating awareness of optimal newborn and infant development, including emotional intelligence, these trained Facilitators will positively impact the worsening social situation in South Africa and abate the breakdown of family and social structures there.
The social problems facing South Africa are very complex and there are no quick fix solutions. This is a six year project which will include a pilot research component teaching these skills to adolescents, to establish the effectiveness of the program so that it can later be replicated throughout South Africa.
Year one of the project has already been completed in 2016, self-funded by Rosslyn Vroom (which included researching program viability and training of the first 4 Facilitators in Cape Town) Initially the project will focus on local communities in Cape Town, and with collaboration of Facilitators and community feedback, will adapt and improve the model, establishing the program and making it self-sustainable. Church leaders will play a crucial role in helping heal relationships with broken individuals and families, making it possible for infants to be raised in stable loving families.
Much has been achieved in the years that followed, including collaboration with Western Cape Education Department, Western Cape Health Department and involvement in the “First 1000 days” initiative. This includes creation of a father-inclusive parenting film called Molo Tata (hello dad) and creating a program for learners called “I create my best future” which addresses unplanned teenage pregnancy, and encourages learners to set goals, develop their potential, finish the schooling and to become a parent at the “right time” .
In early 2021 Great Beginnings Africa was awarded funds to use their program as an intervention with learners to reduce/prevent Gender Based Violence and Femicide GBVF. Despite COVID and “load shedding” (lack of electricity) which created enormous challenges for program delivery, by end of July 2023 results were:
319 Workshops delivered to mixed groups of learners
1077 learners attended all 6 workshops and graduated from the program “I create my best future”
7559 learners attended (3504 boys and 3992 girls)
Learners scored the program 84%
95% of learners indicated their peers would like to participate in the program
72% of learners indicated that the program had influenced their opinions on teenage pregnancy
with likely behavioural change
GREAT BEGINNINGS AFRICA NPO is now also a registered Public Benefit Organization (PBO) in South Africa. GREAT BEGINNINGS AFRICA is now partnering with international charity GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT GROUP and is able to accept donations from citizens of UK USA AU NZ Netherlands