A Care Group for Parents

COTABATO CITY — One in every two children in Cotabato City is malnourished, the UNICEF reported. It is in this urban city in Mindanao, south of the Philippines, that village government official Brahim Usop lives. In his four years as village council, Usop is well aware of his community’s health and nutrition challenges.

“There are various concerns here that affects children. One is poverty which affects a family’s food on the table. You have no money, you have no food. What will you feed your children? Another thing is the lack of knowledge of parents on how to properly care for their children,” says.

In May 2019, the Bangsamoro Automous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) through its Ministry of Health agreed on the establishment the National Nutrition Council’s regional office to help draft guidelines and policies related to health and nutrition. BARMM has autonomous political relationship with the Philippine National Government.

Two years after the establishment of the National Nutrition Council in the region, BARMM presented its Regional Plan of Action for Nutrition (RPAN) 2020-2022 which promised to improve the region’s malnutrition by 2022.

World Vision welcomes the initiative and started working with the local government through its Urban Child Protection Project (UCCP) which aims to improve the overall wellbeing of children in several communities in the region through its cross-cutting programs on health and nutrition, education, child protection, and disaster preparedness.

Usop was the one of the community officials who willingly participated in UCCP’s early childhood development program called Go Baby Go, a skills training for caregivers on how to properly nurture their children. Usop finished World Vision’s training on Go Baby Go and is currently one of the facilitators now educating parents and caregivers.

“Go Baby Go is very simple and effective. It centers on improving the skills of parents in child rearing needs. Parents learned that they do not need to be rich to fully care for the children. It boosts their self-esteem as well because they are recognized and the good actions that they do towards their children are reaffirmed,” Usop says.

Usop adds that Go Baby Go provides parents with support system on what and how they should do things as parents.

“One of the things that Go Baby Go has improved in the lives of our parents is the relationship among them. The Go Baby Go sessions provided venue for parents to socialize, bond and learn from each other. They are able to exchange ideas in child caring. In this time of pandemic when we are being restricted of doing the things we used to do, it is important that we have persons to talk with on the things that we are going through in our lives, in our family,” Usod says.