ICDP at a day care in Germany

An ICDP course was conducted at the “Kirchenkreis Hildesheim-Sarstedt” day care in Hildesheim, northern Germany.

ICDP trainer, psychologist Rita Crecelius conducted the course for 12 day-care professionals from the “Kirchenkreis Hildesheim-Sarstedt” day care,  which was completed on the 21st of February 2020.

Rita Crecelius explains:

“It is a big church-organization, where I held this training, with up to 60 day-cares:

The participants, mostly day care leaders, were already familiar with the neurobiological perspective, and thus they knew that the brain development of children depends on safe attachment and attuned communication. 

The question was:

How do we implement and cultivate these healthy relationships in a busy daily life under stressful circumstances in the day care?

Together, the leaders are responsible for more than 600 children. As part of the ICDP course, they chose only one child to implement the eight ICDP guidelines for good interaction, step by step. 

During the ICDP training the participants discovered that using the guidelines for positive interaction changed their relationship with the children for the better.

Not only did the children increase their self-confidence, their mood and their social behaviours, but the professionals themselves started to feel better, more satisfied and they even felt rewarded by suign their relational wisdom. Many of them were amazed to notice that by raising their awareness even a little, it facilitated remarkable changes in the child.

Eventually, their staff members got curious: What are you doing there? Why is this child so different? As a result, one day care leader decided to train her entire staff with ICDP, others may follow. In the end, all members of the training were proud to be the first ones in Germany to receive an ICDP Caregiver Diploma.

I am now looking forward to bringing more German day care professionals in contact with the ICDP technology for healthy relationships.”

In the second half of 2020, due to Covid-19 the plans for ICDP training were disrupted.


Strategies in times of pandemic

ICDP trainer, Luis Fernando Lopez shares evidence of virtual interventions that have been undertaken in recent months in the department of Boyacá, Colombia.  

“We have been organizing virtual training with professionals from a number of different institutions: the Juan de Castellanos University, the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, the Zona F Foundation, the CENIX Institute.

The purpose of this activity was to enable professionals to apply the programme by working with parents, technical caregivers of early childhood care and the community in general of the department of Boyacá.

The ICDP Colombia leader, Carmen Lucia Andrade, was able to participate in the first meeting with mental health and early childhood professionals. We discussed strategies in times of pandemic and its consequences today and in the future.”


First trainers in Burkina Faso

On the 30th of November Alimata Sidibe and Aubin Sanou received their ICDP Trainer level diplomas through an online meeting with their trainer Nicoletta Armstrong.


In January 2020, ICDP started to cooperate with Save the Children (SC) in connection with their Child Sensitive Social Protection (CSSP) project in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The ICDP programme was integrated in this project with the aim of strengthening parental competences and children’s overall psychosocial development.

During 2020 a group of 22 professionals linked to SC and their partner organizations, attended ICDP Facilitator level training in person and online, and after completing the whole process of training they received their ICDP certificates by the summer 2020. During the autumn, they continued to apply ICDP with families in their respective communities.

At the same time, two previously trained facilitators, Alimata Sidibe and Aubin Sanou, started they process to become trainers. As a requirement for certification as trainers, they trained two groups of new facilitators. In the face of many difficulties and interruptions due to Covid-19, they still managed to organize and carry out workshops for 20 facilitators and to oversee their application of the ICDP programme with families in different parts of the country. They offered support and advice to trainee facilitators through visits in person whenever possible, but also by phone and online contact. After completing the written work at the end of November, Aubin and Alimata were ready to receive their diplomas as trainers. As a result, there are now over forty facilitators and two trainers in Burkina Faso. The adapted ICDP materials were tested out in the field and will be published in 2021.

“We had received many positive comments from parents who attended the ICDP course, but the following comment from one parent seems particularly significant: The cash transfer has been very useful to our lives, but for me this learning about good parenting is even more important.” – Aubin, ICDP trainer.

Photo above: a group of women receiving ICDP in the village of Kossouka


ICDP in a Japanese care home

Hitoshi Maeshima, ICDP trainer (appears sitting in the middle on the photoabove) lives and works as a medical doctor in Tokyo. In early May 2020, Hitoshi wrote to ICDP about the following experience:

As part of my work as a doctor, I regularly visit 7 care homes for older people. During one of my visits to a care home I was asked to explain some medical findings about infectious diseases that have recently been particularly feared: – What is the mechanism by which new coronavirus pneumonia suddenly becomes severe, and how can it be prevented or treated?  According to the clinical course, the severity of coronavirus pneumonia is reported to occur suddenly about ten days after infection. Approximately ten days after infection, antibodies begin to appear in the patient’s body. The virus antigen and its antibody react in the patient’s lungs to form an antigen-antibody complex, which leads to the production of various cytokines.  The original role of these cytokines is to more effectively remove this complex from the body. However, sometimes cytokines are overproduced, causing a cytokine storm. Cytokine storms are immune overreactions and immune runaway. The main cause of the cytokine storm is the excessive function of the cytokine IL6. This was investigated in a pathological condition called juvenile rheumatism. It is known that an inhibitor of IL6 can prevent or treat the cytokine storm.  The severity of new-type coronavirus pneumonia and its treatment are partially possible with IL6 inhibitors. IL6 inhibitor was invented about 15 years ago by the Japanese Doctor, Chuuzou  Chuuzou, whom I met at the Conference of Japanese Internal Medicine.  

After explaining the above story, I conducted an ICDP meeting that was attended by three nurses, one care manager and one doctor. I explained the different aspects and characteristics of ICDP. We discussed how ICDP puts empathy at the basis of human communication. Empathy makes one more sensitive to the feelings and thoughts of the other person, whether in the communication between the child and caregiver, the older person and caregiver, or in general adult to adult communication.  After our discussion, a participant nurse, whose daughter is 3 years old, said that ICDP is extremely useful to her in her parenting role. A care manager who has a teenage daughter said she now feels motivated to learn to better express love to her child.

ICDP is about strengthening the formation of loving relationships. By raising children in this way, it can be expected that they will in the future make the human society richer in humanity. – Hitoshi Maeshima


Iranian trainee facilitators

In the early autumn 2020, ICDP established cooperation with two Iranian professionals, Laleh Javaheri and Anita Zangeneh, both based in Vancouver, Canada. Their aim is to introduce the ICDP programme to Iranian families that are living in Vancouver and other parts of Canada.

With their background in counselling and psychology, they have been working with groups of parents for many years, both through the government and private networks. Anita has been providing basic counselling in family settings both in Farsi and English. Her work includes connecting families with resources available in community based on their needs and their cultural values; organizing training/workshops on parenting skills; working at the joint office with the Ministry of Child and Family development in case of child protection concerns and providing services to the community with cultural sensitive lens.

Having attended the first phase of the ICDP training online, Laleh and Anita are now in the process of translating the ICDP training materials, as well as preparing photos, videos and other support material. They will be using this material in their self-training project with caregivers, which is starting in January 2021. They are currently discussing with their ICDP trainer, Nicoletta Armstrong, how to adapt the ICDP material designed for group meetings in person so that they can deliver the programme to a group of parents via Zoom.


ICDP as part of the Child Grant in Mozambique

Santana Momade, the ICDP Mozambique representative reports:

According to recent analysis by the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Mozambique and UNICEF, half of all children in Mozambique live in monetary poverty. Almost one in two Mozambican children are considered multidimensionally poor. Using comparable data of DHS and the Alkire-Foster approach, multidimensional child poverty in Mozambique was found to exceed that of neighbouring countries (E-Swatini, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe). The Mozambique National Basic Social Security Strategy (2016-2024) developed the Child Grant as part of the Basic Social Subsidy Programme that aims to reduce children’s vulnerability, promote their development by improving their health and diet and accessing basic social services and protection.

UNICEF supported the design and launch of the pilot phase of the Child Grant, ensuring full ownership by the Government. The Child Grant has two components: a cash subsidy (approximately US$10 per month) and a care component (nutrition package and case management) linked to social services. The case management is also called Acompanhamento Familiar and consists of the support provided to families affected by situations of specific risk and/or to those who are classified as most vulnerable, in line with the results from a basic screening tool (used in pre-enrolment or identification). The case management model follows the policies and instruments approved by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action (MGCAS). Regular home visits are conducted by case workers to offer direct support to primary caregivers, their children and other members of the households (e.g, psychosocial and counselling or information for parents) as well as to facilitate referrals to community and statutory services. Through Acompanhamento Familiar a beneficiary family is followed for a period of six months of intervention and three additional months to check on the sustainability of the results achieved. To implement the case management component, UNICEF, in consultation with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action (MGCAS), identified a need for technical assistance and day-today on-the-job coaching of government technical staff and Permanentes (volunteers) at Provincial (DPGAS) and District level (SDMAS) of MGCAS, with the ultimate aim of leaving a cadre of social welfare officers able to provide quality case management support to vulnerable families and children and those at risk, within the context of the child grant (0-2 years).

UNICEF invited ICDP Mozambique to provide this technical and coaching support, following extensive hands-on experience in Mozambique in psychosocial support and, more recently, (child protection) case management. The technical support from ICDP focuses on:

i) support to the development and adaptation of case management tools, job aids, training packages and materials for relevant case management actors and programme stakeholders;

 ii) through on-the-job coaching of relevant provincial staff, strengthen their role in monitoring and supervising the work at district level; and

 iii) through on-the-job coaching of relevant district staff, strengthen their ability to monitor and supervise the work of the volunteers and to provide quality case management for child protection cases.

COVID – 19 Challenge

The programme is facing important challenges due to the COVID-19 outbreak, especially because the Acompanhamento Familiar component was designed based on a home-visit approach. Currently, the recommendations are:

1. Before conducting any visit, consider whether a face-to-face visit is necessary. If not, alternatively the case worker can speak to the family by phone. If someone in the family is unwell, do not conduct the home visit; instead, advise and support them through the referral pathways.

2. The case worker must:

a) Maintain social distancing; b) Wash/sanitize the hands before, during and after each visit; c) Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth before, during and after each visit; d) Wear a mask (new one for each visit).


Brief update from Bolivia

ICDP activities continued during 2020, by the well-established ICDP team that was initially stongly linked to the Lutheran church. The ICDP team has been growing and after they formed an ICDP organization (Red ICDP Bolivia) they began operating in some of their activities independently from the church.

During 2020, the facilitators and trainers of the “Family Strengthening Project for a Life without Violence” received training in complementary topics through Zoom.

Celina Figueroa and Olivia Sulca, continue to participate in this project, and are key members of the team. They are collecting data to ascertain the numbers of families that were reached altogether.

The ICDP programme was delivered in 5 municipalities, 2 rural and 3 urban areas. In the towns of Potosí and Santa Cruz, it was possible to share the programme via Zoom. However, in the rural areas, ICDP is being developed by meeting in person. By the end of October 2020, the team of facilitators began to roll out the ICDP programme to a group of caregivers in Cochabamba.


Snippets from Norway, Sweden and Denmark


ICDP is spreading with government support as a national programme in Norway. The authorities recommend ICDP in their national introduction programme for refugees. In Oslo, on 23-24th of September 2020, an ICDP network conference was arranged by the family protection offices Drammen-Kongsberg. The conference was for trainers and trainer candidates and the theme was “ICDP values”. Participants had the option to meet on the first day and continue digitally on the second day, or to participate exclusively digitally. Helen Christie from ICDP Norway gave a talk during this event. Heidi Westborg, the ICDP Norway chairperson, informs that they obtained project funding from the Directorate for Integration and Diversity to use ICDP groups to disseminate information about covid-19 to groups in society that do not have Norwegian as their main language. ICDP Norway held its annual meeting in June 2020, when it was decided to open ICDP Norway for membership, starting from the autumn.  The team is developing a digital platform to share ICDP news, materials and training.


The Danish Centre for ICDP now offers training in the ICDP programme as what they named blended learning. Blended learning is a combination of traditional teaching in person as well as various e-learnings sessions. The training consists of 2 sessions in person and 6 digital sessions of a maximum of 3 hours each. The digital sessions include E-learning and study groups online. The advantage of this type of course is that the e-learning part creates more flexibility for participants to organise their own training course. The training is specifically offered to those who are affiliated with or part of an organization or institution working with the ICDP programme. The training consists of research-based theories (primarily from developmental psychology and positive psychology) that demonstrate that the relationship is the cornerstone of learning, development and well-being and of the analysis and reflections of participants’ interaction with others to develop reflexive awareness and sensitivity that is essential for relational competence. A maximum of 15 participants are taught. The training is distributed over a period of 5 months and consists of reading a basic book, as well as tasks between the course days. The home task consists of model testing, as well as video recording and analysis of own interaction. The Danish Centre for ICDP has also invested a substantial portion of their funds to making didactic videos about the 8 themes for good interaction.


In the absence of physical meetings due to corona virus, the ICDP Sweden’s recommendation to its network is to start both educational and guidance groups via digital platforms. The policy is that each educator and guide should follow general advice and regulations that apply both nationally and locally. The ICDP training course is organized over four full days. The first two training days are conducted digitally via the Zoom platform and the other two days are held with physical presence. The Foundation believes that training can be conducted digitally by using a system that is stable and works well with several participants. The digital system must also allow for subdivision into small groups, as knowledge transfer of the programme’s content takes place mainly through exercises and group discussions. However, the intention may be that guidance groups may, whenever possible, transition to physical encounters. The ICDP Sweden Foundation developed short videos with ICDP messages and produced two new booklets in spring and summer of 2020 and these are available from their webpage:


Report from Ethiopia

Several ICDP workshops for new facilitators took place in Hawassa, Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar, in February and March 2020.

 Hawassa and Addis Ababa: A group of 16 social workers from the Women and Children Affairs organization completed their ICDP facilitator level training and received their certificate on 7th of March 2020. Together they trained 80 caregivers and parents, while each caregiver was responsible for 10 to 20 children. Most of the trained caregivers work with disadvantage children in need of special care and protection.

The feedback from caregivers was positive according to Atnaf Berhanu, ICDP trainer: “The eight guidelines for good interaction gave caregivers a good orientation and as a result they started to practice new ways of interacting with the children in their care. The topic of how to follow the child’s initiative was found to be particularly important. One mother said that her daughter wanted to be a pilot, but she wanted her to be a medical doctor. After attending the ICDP sensitization meetings the mother said that she started to see the importance of following her daughter’s lead. 

I also held the second part of the ICDP training, both in Hawassa and in Addis Ababa. After the first training all participants made a short film of their own interaction with their children and/or with children of relatives. When we met, we watched the films together and we shared opinions through discussions about what we observed – and this helped most participants to understood the guidelines better. Most of the participants reported that the first ICDP training cycle had helped them to change their attitude towards children. One participant of ICDP training said:“This training is not only helping us to have a good interaction with our children, it is also helping us to consolidate a good interaction with our partners and colleagues at workplace.”

The two groups of facilitators, in Hawassa and in Addis Ababa, were motivated to continue with ICDP training and they will be recruiting 160 new parents and caregivers for training in the ICDP programme.

Bahir Dar: ICDP training has also started in Bahir Dar. The participants came from different parts of the region. Many came from far away, up to 6 hours’ drive by public transport. At the workshop all participants shared stories linked to their childhood experiences. They said that the ICDP training was very relevant for their communities and could help them to raise their children with love and understanding. They emphasized the importance of helping parents to see their children as persons and to guide them so that they can develop well. Many participants said they were determined to apply ICDP when they return home. 


Activities in Ukraine

ICDP trainer Sergey Krasin informs:

On 12-13th  of February 2020, Anna Trukhan, ICDP Ukraine chair, conducted the workshop “Effective ways to support parents of pupils” at the Kharkov Humanitarian Pedagogical Academy.  The workshop was for senior methodologists from different kindergartens in Kharkov. The participants became acquainted with the history of ICDP, its basic principles, criteria and main features.

Apart from this, in the period up to March 2020, there were a lot of facilitators who continued to work in different organizations in Kharkov. They are conducting the ICDP trainings for parents and Anna and I provide supervisory assistance to them.

ICDP training was rolled out to parents through cooperation with the NGO “You Too”; facilitators Victoria Lepyokha, Elena Bondar and Elena Martynyuk conducted ICDP courses for 4 parent groups. The participants of these groups were parents who are faced with difficult life circumstances (such as having seriously ill relatives, or suffering due to death of a close relative, or struggling to cope being single mothers, or grandmothers who took grandchildren under their guardianship) as well as families who want to improve relationships with their children.

“We have three couples in one of these groups, which is very pleasing, as it is very good when both parents are interested in developing a good relationship with their child and are willing to take responsibility for it” – says facilitator Victoria Lepeha.

A very interesting team of facilitators works in the Kidsdream Private Kindergarten. The team consists of a mother and her son: Natalia Novachenko and Evgeny Fedak. They conduct ICDP trainings for parents of children with disabilities.

Anna and I plan to start training new groups of facilitators in Kharkiv and Odesa, as soon as the corona virus situation abates.  In that training we will apply our new programme including the PSEA training. So, in our organization, we are already preparing to implement the ICDP Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) policies and we will apply it to all our partners. We will also organize the same training for all facilitators, including those who have already been trained in the past. In the future, PSEA training will be integrated in the general ICDP training courses as mandatory. We are currently designing a new training programme at three levels:

1st level – Basic training in the eight ICDP guidelines.; 2nd level – ICDP Facilitator level; 3rd level – Regional trainer for regional work. This level will for very experienced facilitators. In this programme we plan to conduct PSEA training after the first level.


ICDP trainer, Maria Gorskova was the key organiser of a conference for ICDP facilitators, which was conducted on Zoom, on the 17th of October 2020.

The aim of the conference was to share and motivate the ICDP facilitators at this time, when due to Covid-19 there are many difficulties and obstacles in their work. The conference proved to be a success, although the participation was smaller than planned.