A man holding a playful baby.
photo by UNICEF/Nemanja Pancic

Parenting interventions are crucial to improve the support, confidence and skills that caregivers need to engage in nurturing care, bonding and playful interactions with their children. They are shown to dramatically reduce childhood adversity, break intergenerational patterns of abuse and neglect, promote caregivers’ mental health, and promote the well-being of children across the life course. 

And they are a good investment. The long-term health costs of adverse childhood experiences are US$1.3 trillion annually in North America and Europe. Evidence suggests as little as a 10 percent reduction in prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) could equate to annual savings of US$105 billion across Europe and North America.

Despite strong evidence on impact and return on investment, only 26 percent of countries self-reported having parenting and caregiver programmes with wide reach, and that their public awareness remained low. With the goal of building a world-wide movement, the Global Initiative to Support Parents (GISP) was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic around an urgent agenda to ensure every parent and caregiver has access to parenting support. GISP is a global platform that aims to bridge sectors and partners to build momentum towards universal support for parents and caregivers during the first two decades of life and across the life course. The initiative was started by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), Parenting for Lifelong Health at the University of Oxford, the Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN), and the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. 

Recently, WHO released new guidelines that provide evidence-based recommendations on designing and implementing parenting interventions. These guidelines can be a powerful advocacy tool. GISP partners have come together to share ideas on how to leverage these guidelines in your advocacy and communications strategies to help build political will for investing in parenting support interventions.  

Highlights from WHO’s Parenting Guidelines

From Guidance to Action

The guidelines provide new, evidence-based recommendations for policy design and implementation.  Here are some ideas on how you can integrate them into your advocacy efforts.    

By Brett Weisel (with contributions from the Global Initiative to Support Parents partners)

Brett Weisel is the Global Policy and Advocacy Lead at ECDAN.