SINOVUYO KIDS Project
Studies to develop a new prevention programme to reduce the risk of child abuse, for high-risk families with children aged 2-9.
The Sinovuyo Kids Project is part of the World Health Organisation's Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH), a suite of parenting programmes to reduce violence.
Child abuse is a major problem in South Africa. Children who are affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty are especially at risk – with rates from 40% to 60% among low-income children. Victims of abuse are more likely to drop out of school, engage in risky sexual behaviour and criminal activity, and continue the cycle of abuse with their own children.
Families with HIV-infected parents, foster parents, and/or parents who are victims of intimate partner violence are particularly high-risk groups for child abuse. For these parents and caregivers, the stresses of their health problems, of caring for multiple orphaned children and of their own childhood experiences can make parenting more difficult. Parenting interventions have been shown to reduce risks of child maltreatment. However, there are currently no evidence-based child abuse prevention programmes in the developing world for children ages 2 to 9.
The overall goal of the Sinovuyo Kids Project is to provide a low-cost programme to reduce the risk for child maltreatment and improve child behaviour in high-risk South African and Southern African families. It aims to help parents and caregivers develop nurturing relationships with their children while coping with stress from HIV/AIDS, poverty, and violence. In order to attain this goal, it also has the following specific objectives, to:
Increase parenting knowledge, skill and sense of competence
Improve positive parenting behaviour
Improve parental supervision and monitoring of children
Decrease inconsistent and harsh discipline
Improve caregiver mental health and social support
The Sinovuyo Kids Project is an innovative 12-week programme that combines the latest scientific research on effective family interventions with culturally relevant approaches specific to South Africa.
The evaluation of the Sinovuyo Kids programme included a pilot randomised trial with 68 parent-child dyads, and this was followed by a larger randomised trial (with 296 parent-child dyads). The evaluations included the use of parental self-report questionnaires as well as video observations of parents and children interacting during structured tasks.
This study has employed internationally recognized scales and measures. The questionnaires can be accessed below:
The pilot study of Sinovuyo Kids found that parents who received the programme engaged in more positive parenting strategies when compared to those who did not receive the programme. The larger trial found that parents who received the programme (when compared to controls) reported increases in positive parenting and decreases in harsh parenting and child conduct problems immediately after the programme was completed. At the one-year follow-up, parents who received the programme also reported more non-violent discipline than parents who did not receive the programme. Data from video observations showed that parents who received the programme had greater positive parent behaviour immediately after the programme as well as a year later.
The Sinovuyo Kids programme, known internationally as PLH for Young Children, is currently being evaluated in several countries, including the Philippines, Thailand, Macedonia, Romania and Moldova. The programme has also been scaled up in several countries across sub-Saharan Africa as well as Eastern Europe.
Professor Lucie Cluver, Professor of Child and Family Social Work at the University of Oxford & Honorary Lecturer for the Department of Psychiatry & Mental Health at the University of Cape Town
Dr. Catherine Ward, Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town.
Dr. Jamie McLaren Lachman, Executive Director, Clowns Without Borders South Africa.
Page last updated: 11 February 2019