Early Childhood Dev’t: Global Program-Thrive by Five Takes Off in Cameroon

A global initiative program for early childhood development dubbed: “Thrive by Five” was officially presented in Yaounde, Cameroon on Wednesday 7th December 2022 during a ceremony chaired by Social Affairs Minister, Pauline Irene Nguene.

Thanks to the Kalkaba Development Initiative, KDI, Cameroon is today the first country in the French-speaking African region to benefit from the Thrive by Five program which is being rolled out in some 30 countries.

The Thrive by Five program launched in Yaounde during a colorful ceremony that gathered government officials and various key actors will be fast-tracked by KDI who partnered with Australian philanthropic organization, Minderoo Foundation.

From information granted to the audience present at the official launch, the program seeks to raise global awareness of the early years of a child and the necessity to empower parents and caregivers through a variety of channels both digital and non-digital in their own language and individually tailored to meet a particular country’s language, cultural and social requirements.

The Thrive by Five program as underscored by KDI is underpinned by three core products which are: the thrive by five app for parents and caregivers of children aged between 0 to 5 years; the support of the thrive by five content disseminated via online and offline channels for increased accessibility and the thrive by five TED talk by Molly Wright.

Founder and President of KDI, Mr. Hamad Kalkaba Malboum in his keynote address outlined the increasing need to support underprivileged children who dream also of a brighter future.

He said: “A country’s future and prosperity lies in the hands of its children. In Cameroon, more than 40 percent of the population is 14 years old or younger. It is scientifically proven that the first five years of a child’s life are crucial to their brain development, yet many children in our country are unable to attend early childhood education, and many parents do not know how important interactions with their children are for their development.”

He further said this innovative program will positively impact the development of childhood in Cameroon.

“We are proud to launch this program in Cameroon, together with our friends at Minderoo Foundation, to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of the first five years, because we believe that it will help create a better future for the people of Cameroon.” He added.

The President of KDI, Hamad Kalkaba Malboum equally praised the existing and fruitful partnership sealed with the government through the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Women’s empowerment and the family.

On his part, Francis Ogutu, Minderoo’s Director for Africa outlined the importance of this program just launched in Cameroon which has a young vibrant population.

Cameroon’s Minister of Social Affairs said this partnership comes at the right time and it will help reinforce the multiple actions carried out by the government and precisely by her ministerial department that is in charge of questions of childhood.

Minister Nguene said: “Thrive By Five, as you have seen in previous screenings, is an initiative focused on the inclusive development of early childhood (0-5 years).  In a context marked by increased globalization with the corollary and the exponential development of new communication technologies, received ideas, and real impacts on the psychological and psychic construction of the child, exposing him/her to multiple flows of information. It was important, even necessary, to rethink the strategy of giving our children a better way of seeing the world in which they live through programs and contents…”

Pauline Irene Nguene went further to underscore the need for these multi-educational contents to be scaled up to make room for lessons corresponding to the cultural and economic specificities and the priorities of each child.

“This necessitates the development and implementation of the Thrive by Five application as a beginning of an effective response to this global challenge of children’s education and it is the result of the hard work of Cameroonian and Australian experts in the process of contextualizing the application. Thus, beyond the qualitative gain for the development of the child and the family in general, as we have just seen, the benefits of this project for Cameroon are invaluable quantitatively, because the children of today are the future of our country. As such, I would like not only to congratulate the people in charge of KDI, for this opportunity they are offering to Cameroonian children but also, to praise their patriotic spirit for the partnership they have engaged in with the MINDEROO FOUNDATION to see Cameroonian families benefit from the experience of those in Australia, thank you again.” She indicated.

Social Affairs’ Boss reiterated the fact that this program falls in line with Cameroon’s new development objectives contained in the 2020-2030 strategy with a focus on human capital to ensure that vulnerable groups or communities have the means and skills to live healthily.

Let us recall that KDI and the Ministry of Social Affairs signed on June 2022 a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU which incorporates this program.

KDI was founded in 2007 by Mr. Kalkaba Malboum who is a public figure well-known for his contributive actions in the sports and social milieus.

Elise Flore Kenimbeni

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