In September 2019, Save the Children – Bhutan Country Office in partnership with the Ministry of Health launched Prescription to Play (P2P) for 0-3-year-old children with funding from LEGO Foundation. The project was a scale-up of the successful piloting of Building Brains common approach through an approach of playful parenting that complemented the LEGO’s Learning Through Play Framework.
The project will primarily build caregivers’ capacity in playful parenting that will promote early stimulation and responsive caregiving and over a period of 3 years, benefit 56,464 children.
Most children in Bhutan miss out on opportunities that shape their young brains due to caregivers’ lack of skills and motivation to play. Bhutan has 26% of 0-3-year-old children with the risk of not reaching their developmental potential. P2P’s vision is to improve young children’s play ecology with equity, by offering an intensity of services which commensurate with the level of need.
In 2019, the project developed comprehensive evidence-based Behavior Change Communication (BCC) strategy for female and male caregivers focusing on to provide intensive support to children with developmental delays and disabilities. This strategy included four components - mass media campaign, advocacy, community mobilization, and interpersonal communication, drawn from global best practices, including Alive and Thrive strategy to promote infant and young child feeding for the same age group.
The Country Office participated in Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC) in creating awareness among Asia-Pacific government and bolster existing playful parenting programs for children under 3 by mapping them, highlighting notable practices and linking research experts with pilot programs to generate evidence. ARNEC will be the gateway between P2P and the region by disseminating P2P approach and tools to scale and sustain playful parenting, facilitating a learning visit to Bhutan and providing officials with a leadership role in ARNEC, where they present their commitment to playful parenting.