On October 3rd, the central square of Somone, coastal Senegal, was crowded with people who had turned out to watch a demonstration of a class from Tostan’s Reinforcement of Parental Practices (RPP) module. The demonstration was also broadcast live on Thies FM.
Officially launched in March this year following a successful pilot phase in 2012, the RPP module works with parents and other caregivers to support their children’s early development, preparing them for success at school.
During the demonstration and broadcast Tostan Senegal’s Oumou Diop led participants in a demonstration of an RPP class session. The radio show aimed to introduce listeners, and the observers who had come to watch the demonstration, to the work of the RPP module, focusing particularly on the importance of language and speaking to infants. The module encourages practices such as using complex vocabulary when speaking to young children, and looking them directly in the eye – a practice which is often avoided by parents in Senegal due to a belief that it allows dangerous spirits to harm the child. However recent scientific research has shown this type of interaction to be very important for brain development.
Radio listeners were able to hear demonstrations of positive parent-child interactions as well as responses by participants to questions posed by Oumou on what they had learned.
Radio remains an important means of information transmission in Senegal and is key to Tostan’s organized diffusion strategy, spreading new ideas far and wide.
Oumou Diop will continue to present class sessions from Tostan’s programs regularly, with one program every two months broadcast from a regional location in Senegal.