Thrive by Five16 Mar 2023

Non-profit Mission in Health Care and Development and Minderoo Foundation launch early childhood program CinqPrèmieres in the DRC

Minderoo Foundation, in collaboration with Mission in Health Care and Development, has today launched its international early childhood development program in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Parents and caregivers celebrate the launch of CinqPremières in Uvira, Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo Credit: Dr Luc Mulimbalimba.

The neuroscience-based program – titled CinqPremières – promotes simple activities that parents and caregivers can undertake in the early years of a child’s life which are scientifically proven to have a profound effect on their brain development.

Co-developed by DRC non-profit organisation Mission in Health Care and Development (MHCD) and the Minderoo Foundation in Australia with support from the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre, the program aims to increase awareness around the importance of a child’s early years and to empower parents and caregivers to give children the best start in life.

CinqPremières is the Congolese edition of Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five International program, which is currently being rolled out in 30 countries and has so far launched in Indonesia, Afghanistan, Namibia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Cameroon.

The program features over 100 tips and activities for parents and caregivers to enjoy with their children, which are disseminated in DRC via the CinqPremières App for parents and caregivers of children aged 0-5 years as well as other online and offline channels such as print, radio, television and community outreach.

The content is based on anthropological and neuroscientific research created specifically for each country and validated by local experts in a series of workshops. The primary goal of the program is to inspire parents and caregivers to have more frequent and quality interactions with children and to highlight do-able and desirable actions such as simple games like peek-a-boo that are scientifically proven to have a significant impact on a child’s development.

Ana Nieto, Head of Thrive by Five International at Minderoo Foundation outlined the unique methodology of the program: “Many parenting apps draw from the same content base which is translated into local language. Our approach is different in that we’re working with carefully selected partners and experts on the ground in each host country to give parents access to tips that are reflective of their own culture and identity as well as based on the latest scientific research. Additionally, our special focus is on communities where awareness of the importance of early childhood development is low, or where access to this information is limited.”

Dr. Luc Mulimbalimba, MHCD President and Director, said: “The DRC has been affected by wars for many years, these wars have killed more than more than 6,000,000 people. Currently, we have orphaned children, single mothers, and internally displaced people (IDP). This program will also relieve and help these children and parents who are in difficulties, it will help them to keep and play well with their children. I would like to thank the Minderoo Foundation for choosing the DRC as a pilot country for this project and for working with MHCD.”

The Thrive by Five content and app has been developed by Minderoo Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Sydney Brain and Mind Centre. It is based on in-depth anthropological analysis of parenting and community norms, gender, and parenting roles, as well as religious, cultural, and environmental factors of each target country. This context is then married up with scientific foundations around the social and cognitive brain, physical health, communication/language as well as identity and culture. The result is a collection of tips relevant to the national and cultural context of each country.

Professor Ian Hickie of the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney, and scientific lead, said: “This program is a world-first. It uniquely combines new insights from the science of early brain development with the application of place-specific cultural knowledge. That’s a real challenge but also the beauty of the project.” He adds, “It’s a real privilege, and a massive learning experience for us, to work with people in each country, and be supported by Minderoo Foundation. We can bring neuroscience and the practices of child-rearing together to create an environment that will help each child to reach their maximum cognitive and emotional potential.”

Minderoo Foundation
by Minderoo Foundation

Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.

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