First Steps (Intera za Mbere)

First Steps (Intera za Mbere) promotes healthy early childhood development by providing holistic parenting education through radio-facilitated peer learning groups and increasing access to emergent literacy materials for young children.
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Year launched: 
Launch country: 

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting
Primary Approach: 
Save the Children Canada
Education level (ISCED): 

Location Data

Western Province
Ngororero District
Geography type: 
Program Description: 

First Steps targets families with children under 3 years old to improve parenting practices and access to emergent literacy materials. The program is implemented in the western province district of Ngororero in Rwanda. Parenting sessions are conducted at the village level once per week over 17 weeks. The program aims to improve early childhood development outcomes through parenting support and places additional emphasis on building foundational skills for literacy at home. Radio programming is facilitated by a community family volunteer who holds parenting education sessions. First Steps supplies participating families with a number of resources o practice what they have learned during the sessions. Each family receives a children’s book, a guide on creating books using locally available supplies, and a set of illustrated activity leaflets that depict positive parenting practices and messaging. The program has additionally established a small book bank, providing at least 40 books for each group of 60 families. To meet the demand for books and resources, First Steps collaborates with local publishers and produces emergent literacy materials, which include age appropriate children’s books in the local language Kinyarwanda. Bookseller entrepreneurs are also engaged to create operating book stalls on local market.

Highlighting Innovation: 
First Steps combines radio programming with community-based peer learning groups to offer parenting education. The program also collaborates with local publishers and entrepreneurs to increase parents' access to emergent literacy materials.
Key Challenges: 
Projects are implemented in remote and mountainous areas with poor roadways, complicating service delivery and monitoring or coaching visits.