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IHELP Principal Investigator Dr. Rose Opiyo Spearheads Efforts to Equip Children’s Caregivers with Skills in the Newly Established Centers

Dr. Rose Opiyo (speaking) with a section of center leaders during the workshop.

The Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology’s researcher, Dr. Rose Opiyo, has once again spearheaded a three-day training workshop to equip caregivers with diverse skills in responsive caregiving in the newly established iHELP centers. This training was conducted at the SHIMA iHELP center from 7th to 9th February 2023 and was facilitated by a Nutrition Expert, Ms. Martina Adega, and the project’s Consultant Ms. Irene Otieno.

Speaking during the workshop, Dr. Opiyo expressed delight to the Ikolomani and Shiveye communities for welcoming the iHELP project and working towards its sustainability. She noted that IHELP is a project that fosters the inclusivity of all children.

“I encourage you to learn as much as you can from this training. Children should be exposed to items that are attractive, kindle curiosity, and create connections to their cultural identities. This includes providing materials that send positive, inclusive messages about children with disabilities,” she added.


Learning materials.

Commenting on Child Safety and Protection, Dr. Opiyo stated that parents and caregivers are liable for building a safe and friendly environment for their children. She advised the participants to start a conversation about the basic safety measures with their kids at an early stage.

This training brought together various caregivers and center managers from SHIMA and Indete IHELP Centres. During the first day of training, Ms. Adega took the participants through proper nutrition and health assessment of children, where she tackled the benefits of proper nutrition to children’s growth, provision of a healthy diet, and appropriate feeding patterns. Further, she administered Vitamin A and dewormers to the children as per the assessment conducted.

IHELP Principal Investigator Dr. Rose Opiyo3

Ms. Martina Adega administering Vitamin A to a child.

Additionally, she comprehensively presented child safety and protection as a key measure to ensure the safety of children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect. She explained the ten (10) Commandments of Child Safety to the participants.

“Although protecting the child at every step is neither possible nor advisable for their development and confidence, there are certain things we can do to ensure the overall safety of our children. I urge you to ensure the safety of your children in terms of accidents, food, diseases, and injuries,” said Ms. Adega.

IHELP Principal Investigator Dr. Rose Opiyo10

A section of the participants following the presentations.

The training also encompassed systematic demonstrations of material development in childhood education to aid the learning, stimulation and playing of the children while at the centers. This was addressed by Ms. Irene Otieno who guided the caregivers in developing various materials for the children.

“This is an important lesson for caregivers to develop critical thinking skills for selecting appropriate materials, and producing tools for children during their stay at the centers. It will also enable the development of self-prepared instructional materials for learning and playing purposes.

IHELP Principal Investigator Dr. Rose Opiyo12

Caregivers during material development session.

Attesting to the impact of the training, one of the caregivers, Ms. Mary Nafula appreciated the efforts to empower them in the upbringing of their children. “This exercise has enabled us to reflect on our role in Early Childhood Education to ensure our children are well grounded.  We applaud our trainers who have done immensely empowered us with requisite skills in responsive caregiving,” said Ms. Nafula.

IHELP Principal Investigator Dr. Rose Opiyo13

Children display materials developed by the caregivers.

Certainly, the IHELP project is an anti-biased approach to learning that supports and embraces the differences within an individual. Such workshops encourage the use of materials that empower children of all racial, ethnic, and social backgrounds. This helps in bridging the gap between children’s home and school lives, thus providing a strong foundation for learning. 

By Linet Owuor

Photos by Linet Owuor

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