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Teaching respect for children abroad

Home visitors preparing to follow up with recent Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting participants / Source: Grand Challenges Canada

Teaching respect for children abroad

September 8, 2014 — 

Physical punishment of children is a global problem, according to Joan Durrant of the department of family social sciences at the University of Manitoba. To help prevent possible abuse of children in developing nations, she has received a grant from Grand Challenges Canada to train caregivers in countries around the world.

Created at the University of Manitoba in partnership with Save the Children, the Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting (PDEP) project aims to transform parents’ beliefs about punishment and control to promote problem-solving and mentorship. Durrant expects such training can help parents understand the emotional, cognitive and neurodevelopmental bases of children’s behaviour, empowering them to resolve conflict in health-promoting ways.

She notes: “Globally, millions of children are physically punished every day, increasing their risk for lifelong mental and physical problems. Physical punishment fosters aggression, generates feelings of rejection, disrupts the brain’s stress response mechanism and compromises the neural systems needed for self-regulation. Addressing this epidemic requires a paradigm shift in parental thinking.”

This past weekend, parenting specialists came to Winnipeg from Kenya, Kosovo, Ontario and Saskatchewan for the four-day Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting program, led by Durrant.

Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, has announced $2.4 million in seed funds shared between 22 projects from Canada and nine developing nations, to pursue inventive new ideas for improving health in low-resource countries. Selected through independent peer review, the projects will address major health burdens in the developing world, including tuberculosis, deafness, mental health problems, liver and thyroid illness, and non-communicable diseases.

Dr. Peter A. Singer, CEO of Grand Challenges Canada, says, “The difference between a human life burdened by serious health challenges and a life lived to its full and healthy potential may be a bold idea developed by an innovator in Canada or abroad. Through our Stars in Global Health program, we are proud to identify these exceptional global health innovations that aim to have a far-reaching and positive impact on the well-being of individuals and communities in developing nations.”

Seed grants of $112,000 each were awarded this year to nine Canadian-based innovators from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Saskatoon. In six rounds of funding since 2011, Grand Challenges Canada’s Stars in Global Health program has provided $43 million in seed grants to 392 projects.

For more information, please contact Joan Durrant at: 204-474-8060 or email: joan [dot] durrant [at] umanitoba [dot] ca



Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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