El Salvador

ICDP started in 2006 and it is still ongoing.

ICDP was invited to El Salvador by UNICEF in 2006  and during that year an ICDP project was developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Social Services (ISNA), sponsored by UNICEF.

ICDP held workshops for 90 facilitators and 300 promoters, including teachers, volunteers, health nurses, social workers and community leaders. After the workshops the programme was implemented in 7 provinces, reaching 600 vulnerable families and children. The ICDP team was led by Nicoletta Armstrong.

During the evaluation sessions the majority of the facilitators agreed that ICDP meant starting to work on oneself and on the relationships inside ones own families. This was, according to them, both a gift and a learning process that enabled them to reach out and inspire others to apply ICDP in practice, particularly emphasising the need for empathy and loving guidance. In several schools the teachers decided to introduce ICDP to all their colleagues and they did so in their spare time. They said ICDP helped them to relate better not only with children but also with their colleagues. The majority of those trained felt the importance of spreading the positive messages of the programme further into their community in the future. 

There were two ICDP visits to San Salvador in 2007 and the team of 90 persons received further training; over 1000 families received the programme. ICDP became a national programme. The trained facilitators continued to train new promoters and they in turn implemented ICDP as part of their work as teachers, social workers or community volunteers. The coordination continued to be by ISNA and UNICEF.

In order to sustain ICDP long term, it was decided to form a group of ICDP accredited trainers who can supervise the developments and sustain the motivation and interest of agents working in the field in different regions of the country – this would complete the transfer of the ICDP methodology to local teams.

YEAR 2008: The ICDP national scale project continued to grow in 2008, and was supervised by a core team of 20 social workers and teachers trained as ICDP trainers. The second stage of the project reached over 4000 families in the most needy areas of the country. ICDP offered refresher workshops with special focus on monitoring and evaluation. Julio Martinez, a trainer from Guatemala joined one of the workshops, and that allowed for interesting sharing of experiences between Guatemala and El Salvador. A video was made by participants about the three ICDP dialogues. The ICDP materials are in process of adaptation. 

An evaluation study was sponsored by UNICEF, which showed positive results confirming the relevance of ICDP’s work for the development of positive relationships in the participant families and communities.

YEAR 2009: During 2009 more organizations joined the ICDP network and ICDP workshops were given to new groups of facilitators; at the same time feedback meetings were held with those previously trained in ICDP. Over 6000 families were reached and these achievements will be presented to the new authorities.

The project continued to develop in 2010 – 2013.

” We have been implementing ICDP all over our country for seven years now with very good results. Carolina Guevarra, from ISNA (social services) has been coordinating the practical sides of the ICDP implementation, together with the core group of local ICDP trainers. Carolina’s great enthusiasm for ICDP has spread to the  leadership of  ISNA, and there is a strong institutional commitment in ISNA to continue to support and expand the ICDP initiative. UNICEF and ISNA made a major effort to involve both the local authorities and the local community in the ICDP process. As a result of this strategy we have succeeded to reach a significantly higher number of families with ICDP.” – Marina Morales, from the UNICEF office in San Salvador. Marina is still coordinating ICDP in El Salvador by cooperating closely with ISNA and other local partners, as well as liaising with the ICDP foundation.

ICDP has been implemented by 50 local partners, including the Ministry of Education (MINED), Ministry of Health (MINSAL), Social Services (ISNA), municipalities (San Marcos, Resume, Acjutla, San Salvador, Izalco, and others), CIDEP, Intervida, FUSAL, ADOI, FAO, UNDP, SOS Village, REINSAL, and many others.


The University of Sonsonate has been using ICDP to train all students in the area of early childhood.


There is a high percentage of male participants at every level of training, trainer, facilitator and caregiver.

In 2012, Nicoletta Armstrong held workshops for new groups. ICDP has spread to 80 municipalities and over 60,000 children. 

A total of 40, 270 persons have received ICDP up until the end of 2013.

In 2014, 37 people have started to receive training to become ICDP trainers. They belong to the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Salvadoran Institute for Children and Teenagers’ Development, Institute of Youth in El Salvador and FUNDAFAM (an NGO that works for the family empowerment).



VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDCefC-VjmU

The video is about the work with the ICDP programme in El Salvador, sponsored by UNICEF. The video is called “Tambien soy Persona” (“I am a person too”). This is the name of the ICDP booklet for caregivers by Karsten Hundeide and Nicoletta Armstrong, but it was adopted as the name for the ICDP programme, initially in Colombia and then in other Latin American countries too.

YEARS 2018-2019: “In 2018, I prepared a draft set of ICDP materials for use with parents of adolescents, which were then tested out and further adapted in cooperation with professionals from UNICEF, NGO called Educo and the Salvadoran Institute for Children and Adolescents (ISNA).  The new set of ICDP materials was published by UNICEF at the beginning of 2020 and the ICDP facilitators have subsequently started to use it with groups of parents.

In 2019, with the same team we have been discussing the adaptation of the ICDP programme and its materials for use by adolescents themselves; the idea is for adolescents to be trained as ICDP facilitators who then implement the ICDP programme by working with groups of other adolescents. 

We designed a process of training and a pilot project, and the work on this was started in July 2019. In phase one, two groups of adolescents, one from San Salvador and the other from a rural area, were introduced to ICDP and asked to try out the guidelines in relation with peers. In phase two of the project, they attended more workshops in which they had opportunities to deepen the topics and make suggestions in terms of adaptation of the materials and content.  In this phase, trainers Carolina Montoya and Lucy Mejia from ICDP Colombia, joined the team – they worked on the latest workshops for young people, in November 2019.

The phase three is a pilot project: a core group of young people will become trained as ICDP facilitators in order to deliver the ICDP programme to other young people. Throughout the pilot project, our adult team will include the young facilitators and together we will monitor and evaluate the process.

There is a lot of enthusiasm for this project and a great commitment from Educo, ISNA and UNICEF who are providing financial support and spearheading the work on the ground. The adolescents themselves are already showing some promising results in terms of the engagement and interest – they found all ICDP topics meaningful and pertinent to their young lives. The youth to youth approach will be piloted and finalized in El Salvador during 2020.” – Nicoletta Armstrong, ICDP.

YEAR 2020: During 2020, the ICDP programme was presented to and discussed with a group of young people in El Salvador. Young people from the urban and rural areas were given the opportunity to experience the ICDP programme and afterwards became involved and consulted in the process of adaptation of ICDP for a youth to youth approach. In the youth to youth approach, young people become ICDP facilitators and provide ICDP training to other young people. This process was initiated by UNICEF and developed in cooperation with its local partners and ICDP, and with the active involvement of a professional team with many years of ICDP experience in El Salvador and Colombia. The process also aimed to ascertain what needed to be adapted and modified with regards to the established set of ICDP materials, known as the “ICDP mochila”. It proved to be a valuable experience, which shed a new light on the application of the programme and its materials to work with young people.

YEAR 2021:

During 2020 and 2021, young people from the urban and rural areas were given the opportunity to experience the ICDP programme and afterwards became involved and consulted in the process of adaptation of ICDP for a youth-to-youth approach. In the youth-to-youth approach, young people become ICDP facilitators and provide ICDP training to other young people.

During the pandemic, UNICEF, ISNA and EDUCO, developed together a digitalized version of the ICDP programme for training facilitators and trainers, in combination with in-person training.

New pilot project:

In September 2021, education officers from UNICEF, Marta Navarro and Marta Gomez, together with Liliana Reyes from ISNA and Nicoletta Armstrong from ICDP, examined the progress of a new pilot project aimed at reducing violence against children. The ICDP programme is the key component in this pilot, which also addresses the issues around gender equality. It has sponsorship from the EU and it represents cooperation with the Spotlight organization. The pilot will be completed in December 2022.

The municipalities in 3 areas covered by the pilot were prioritized on the basis of high levels of violence recorded in families and the community, and these are: San Salvador, San Miguel and San Martin. The execution of the project plan took place in close communication with the local governments. In the first phase of the project, ICDP was delivered to parents of adolescents and in the second, adolescents will facilitate the programme to other adolescents. The second phase will be starting in 2022.

In 2021, the parents of adolescents who participated in the project were the same parents who had in previous years received the ICDP – but at that time it was ICDP in the modality designed for parents of young children. This continuity of ICDP delivery was intentional as a long-term strategy. A special effort was made to involve both sexes in the project, which proved not to be an easy task. Parents of adolescents attended the ICDP meetings in person and received follow up via WhatsApp and Zoom.

The project met with technical difficulties such as difficult or no reception to talk using WhatsApp. The success of this pilot will be evaluated in its later stages, however, there are very positive signs already that it is working:

According to Liliana Reyes, the greatest impact on the lives of parents and their children came from the fact that in ICDP they apply and practice the 8 guidelines and then share with others their home experiences – it was found that this practical aspect had a strong impact on parents. Parents who never expressed loving feelings to their children, were now able to write warm letters to their children full of expressions of love and appreciation. Most parents said they did not know how to communicate with their children before ICDP and that the 3 dialogues have changed their lives.

2022 Update

.In 2023, ISNA was replaced by the Consejo Nacional de la Primera Infancia, Ninez y Adolescencia – CONALPINA (National Council for Early Childhood, Children and Adolescence), who continue the expansion of ICDP.

ICDP contact persons in UNICEF El Salvador are Marta Navarro, Education Specialist, and Liliana Reyes, Education Officer. They summarized developments in 2023:

During 2023, the design and adaptation of the materials for the peer-to-peer version of the “I am a person” was finalized with CONAPINA and 500 sets of ICDP materials (backpacks) were reproduced, with the plan to benefit at least 1,500 adolescents.  CONAPINA has started the piloting at the end of 2023 and in 2024 the first results will be systematically observed.

In addition, with the support of CONAPINA and in coordination with EDUCO the ICDP programme version for families with adolescents was implemented, directly benefiting 2,804 mothers, fathers, or caregivers (women: 2,415 and men: 389), and indirectly benefiting 5,958  children and adolescents (girls: 3,032 and boys: 2,926).