The CHICS Programme cares a lot about the well-being of children. We know that many children in South Africa are poor, friendless and hungry, but we dream of a world where all children are safe, loved and well-fed.
You can see more in our video clip at: http://www.nova.org.za/news.php
The programme's vision is that all children in South Africa grow up in healthy households. This means that children are in a place where they have the opportunities to satisfy their needs.
Grown-ups and children across the globe all have the need for sustenance, protection, affection, participation, understanding, creativity, idleness, identity, freedom and transcendence (cf the development approach developed by Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef).
A child who is in a position to satisfy these needs experiences quality of life.
We work with churches as strategic doorway to local communities to strengthen the network of all who are concerned about the quality of life of children.
We have reached a phase where we are looking for partners to take the CHICS Programme to local communities across the country and to continue research and the further development of the programme. We partner with churches, industries, authorities, knowledge institutions and NGOs.
Ilifa Labantwana's document, The essential package, has identified five components that are essential for early childhood development: Nutritional Support, Primary Maternal and Child Health Interventions, Social Services, Support for Primary Caregivers and Stimulation for Early Learning. CHICS focuses on the last two components, but the programme is developed in such a way that primary caregivers and children are guided to access resources that provide for the first three components as well as other components that may be required.
The CHICS programme helps to facilitate a process where all the role-players as depicted in the network poster work together to improve the quality of life of children in their community:
- Parents/ households
- Day care/ creche
- Local congregation
- CHICS office
- CHICKS partners
- Other services
CHICS Theatre Edutainment
The CHICS Theatre Edutainment project is a lot of fun. The characters Chic and Tumelo talk to the children about hygiene, pollution, sounds, relationships and other important elements of a healthy household. This project is an investment in the development of children. It playfully conveys social life skills, responsible quality of life choices and respect for creation. In this way the show strives to promote constructive behaviour amongst our children.
Each of the elements in the Nova Quality of Life (QOL) wheel is used as a theme for a theatre show and a relevant spiritual inspirational message is included in the story:
Healthy Household Culture
A small scale evaluation project was established at Stanza Bopape and Phahameng congregations in Mamelodi, South Africa. Our medium term goal was to evaluate, refine and validate the efficiency of the theatre. The results were positive and we are confident that it complies with the highest criteria of excellence.
Our aim is now to commence with a pilot and ultimately full scale implementation. We are now planning with the Dutch Reformed Family of churches and the Protestant Church in the Netherlands to take the programme to 5 congregations in 2015, and escalate it from there.
We are also continuing our research and continuous improvement of the programme. We are in contact with Ilifa Labantwana, the Department of Psychology at the University of Pretoria and the Department of Anthropology at the Free University of Amsterdam, who has sent a final year student in 2014, and is sending two Masters Students in 2015.
The CHICS parent empowerment project acknowledges that parents and close relatives are the first safety net for vulnerable children. Unfortunately, there are instances where family members and relatives exploit vulnerable children and we believe that such cases are normally best treated by professionals. Generally speaking, however, it is our conviction that the empowerment of parents, relatives and family friends could make the most significant contribution towards the care of vulnerable children.
We therefore help to develop methods for faith based institutions, in particular churches, to support these parents and custodians to care for the vulnerable children in the midst of their households. In our opinion it is crucial to involve parents to participate in interpreting and establishing the values and virtues that the programme introduces to their children through the CHICS programme. Parents are therefore encouraged to give meaning to the various virtues as depicted in the CHICS Anatomy.
Our goal is ultimately to see a CHICS parent empowerment group being established at every crèche and day care centre in low-income areas nationally, commencing by engaging Dutch Reformed and Uniting Reformed Church congregations.
We would like to acknowledge the following entities that contributed to the programme:
- Lux Mundi Congregation
- Northern and Eastern Synods of the Dutch Reformed Church
- Christian Social Council
- Congregations of the Witness Forum of Mamelodi / Lusaka
- Centre for Development and Ethics
- UP Functional Household Programme
If you would like more information about the Chics programme you could contact Catherine Senyolo at firstname.lastname@example.org