International Day of Families 2021
Posted in Blogs on May 14, 2021
Posted in Blogs on May 14, 2021
Every year, May 15 marks the International Day of Families. This year, it focuses on the impacts of new technologies on the well-being of families. The pandemic has resulted in many school closures, distance online learning, and a widening of the education gap. Moreover, the economic challenges faced by many disadvantaged families have only grown larger- with many families at risk of being unable to afford their children’s education, let alone the technology needed for distance learning (see our COVID-19 Youth Voices feature here). In response to the challenges of the pandemic, Aflatoun and our partners have developed blended learning methods to ensure that social and financial education can continue to be provided to all children and youth.
New technologies have the potential to strengthen educational systems, and increase reach and impact, which is why the Aflatoun team is continuously working to develop new digital learning materials for teachers, trainers, and partner organisations. The challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic have emphasised the necessity for a blended learning approach. Our partners have been supporting the children and families who are impacted by the digital divide by adapting distance learning methods, and by supporting their wellbeing during the pandemic. As some of our partners and Aflatoun students’ families have limited or no access to internet, we also developed low tech solutions; such as creating content for non-smartphones using SMS delivery systems.
Adapting and creating new technologies has been an important part of responding to Covid-19, but another key factor has been involving families within the educational process. According to a 2018 UN Report, families being the elementary social unit make them a key player in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG4: Quality Education (UNESCO, 12).
Read on to discover the ways in which some of our partners in Brazil, Ukraine and Mozambique adapted to pandemic restrictions, and incorporated a family approach into their Aflatoun programmes.
As the pandemic necessitated a move to distance learning, our partner ChildFund Brazil developed an innovative adaptation of delivering the Aflatoun programme to children at home. Faced with the challenge of uneven access to stable internet, they created ‘Aflatoun at Home’ by designing learning activity packets with community illustrators and Aflatoun trainers that could be done offline. Through their partner, SESFA, they delivered these learning activities, organised challenges, online contests, and games for children at home. Children, with the help of their families, sent feedback and submissions through WhatsApp – with many of the assignments being worksheets, photos, videos, or drawings that encouraged children to engage siblings, parents, and other family members.
“What I liked the most was to play the River of Hearts game with my brother Gabriel…because we get to know each other and create this partnership between brothers to assemble that game.”
– Gabriela, from a Beneficiary Family
Watch ChildFund Brazil’s video for the Aflatoun Partners Resilience Challenge below:
Preschool Educational Institution N°34 in Vinnytsia (Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine)
Pre-school educational institution n°34 from Vinnytsia (Ukraine) began involving parents in the financial education of their children during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ‘Economical is Fashionable’ campaign was created for children to learn about maintaining good hygiene during the pandemic – by learning how to use water, liquid soap and paper towels – but also to teach children about saving up money and electricity, with the help of their parents.
“Most importantly, the economic education of preschoolers takes place both in kindergarten and in the family.”
– Preschool Educational Institution N°34 in Vinnytsia
Watch the children’s “Economical is Fashionable” campaign for the Aflatoun Partners Resilience Challenge video here:
Preschool Educational Institution N°19 in Vinnytsia (Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine)
With social distancing and sanitary measures putting both the physical and mental well-being of elderly people at risk, a kindergarten in Vinnytsia created the “Coworking: Wise Grandmother” project, based on the Aflatot curriculum. This project actively involves grandmothers in the education of their grandchildren, allowing them to continue interacting during the pandemic both virtually (through a website) and in person, through various activities. These activities include making toys from their grandmothers’ childhood, cooking their favourite dishes, and learning about Ukranian traditions.
Grandmothers have become important actors in the children’s social and financial education, teaching them to save by telling them about their own childhood, but also by developing their communication, social, and empathy skills. Activities such as the ‘Wall of Dreams’ provided an opportunity for children and their grandmothers to better understand each other. This project both ensures that children continue to receive social and financial education during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also creating strong inter-generational bonds within the family.
This project symbolically began on October 21, 2020 (Grandmothers and Grandfathers Day in Ukraine) and will end on May 15, 2021 (Families Day) where several activities are to be held; such as “Give Love to a Lonely Grandmother” where children and grandmothers will make cards and gifts for elderly people in nursing homes that may be isolated during the pandemic.
Watch their video below:
Wona Sanana, one of our partner organisations in Mozambique, put in great efforts to ensure that children continued receiving social and financial education in COVID-safe ways. They devised a community-based approach, including developing DPI (early childhood development) programmes designed to be delivered at home, tutoring, and involving siblings and parents in at-home learning support.
Wona Sanana trained educators, teachers, and parents, who brought ready-made activities and worksheets to children’s gardens and outdoor community spaces. Adapted from the Aflatot curriculum, with a focus on the value of family and saving resources, this allowed Wona Sanana to both continue the programme as well as monitor students’ wellbeing. They have also begun implementing the same model to continue delivering Aflateen.
“To respond to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wona Sanana had to… bring Aflatoun into the families”
– Carolina Mavaieie, technician at Wona Sanana
Wona Sanana’s video on navigating the Covid-19 crisis has been recognised as the most creative production for the Aflatoun Partners Resilience Challenge. Watch the video here:
Learning for the Community
Community and family-based learning is one of the oldest educational traditions across all cultures and, with the challenges faced by in-person formal education during the pandemic, it was all the more necessary that we combine family-involved learning with our digital efforts to continue children’s social and financial education. Further, findings from the UNESCO report ‘Learning Together Across Generations: Guidelines for Family Literacy and Learning Programmes’ showed that parents who engaged in such programmes often become ambassadors for literacy and education in their communities.
As a key part of Aflatoun’s mission is the community-wide benefits seen in the social and financial empowerment of children, it is imperative that such education also involves their families. We can’t wait to see how our partners continue to adapt, and Aflatoun will continue to work with them to develop new methods to ensure that all children and youth – regardless of the challenges they may face in accessing internet or other resources – have access to quality social and financial education.