Strategic Plan for Community and Decision-Maker Engagement and Dissemination of Parenting and Early Childhood Research in Lebanon

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Liliana Angelica Ponguta
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Few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have explored the imple me nta t io n and ‎impacts of early child ho o d education and parenting programs in very fragile contexts ‎and humanitar ia n settings. In partnership with the Arab Resource Collective, a ‎Lebanese NGO that leads early childhood and family programming in the country and ‎region, our team from Yale University conducted an RCT and imple me nta t io n ‎evaluat io n of the Mother-Child Education Program (MOCEP). The program, ‎developed by the ACEV Foundation in Turkey, applies practice-based activities in ‎group settings to promote school readiness and holist ic child develop me nt in ‎contexts where access to quality early childhood education programs is low. MOCEP ‎has been translated to several language s, and implemented and taken to scale in several ‎countries. Our RCT, conducted among two refugee and one margina l ized communit y ‎in Beirut, is the first experimental assessment of MOCEP’s impact, and one of the few ‎studies to empirically explore the effects of a high-intensity, structured parenting ‎program in a context affected by displacement, food and human insecurity, and ‎socioeconomic instabilit y. Our study demonstrated that MOCEP reduced harsh ‎disciplinary practices and reduced parenting stress among the target populations ‎‎(Ponguta et al., under review). These findings are remarkable in that the y substantiate ‎the measurable impact of a social intervention on key markers of parental practices and ‎wellbeing in contexts of high stress and despite mult ip le structural risk factors. Our ‎study also explored the imple me nt at io n of the program to identify enablers and ‎challenges to the delivery process and the feasibility of robustly evaluat ing parenting ‎intervent ions in this study context (Ponguta et al., in press). The data emerging from ‎the study is also being utilized to characterize family processes, the role of father’s ‎involvement, and ways to address parenting practices and child development – all in the ‎backdrop of limited validated instruments to assess these and other constructs in a ‎complex study setting (e.g.., Hein et al., submitted). ‎