World Vision has requested that any stakeholders that work in child protection focus on family members – especially grandmothers – who are often caregivers. A newly launched World Vision project advocates for a “Grandmother-inclusive approach”.
The launch of the project came after it was discovered that because parents were busy working, especially migrant and factory workers, they often left their children with their grandmothers in the countryside. Some grandmothers were taking care of two or three children, which affected the nutrition of children and the health of the elderly.
World Vision held an April 7 learning event titled “Inclusion of Grandmothers in Development Programmes to Improve the Wellbeing of Children.” The event was attended by government and civil society organisation officials, who shared experiences and made recommendations on the project.
Grana PuSelvi, a nutrition specialist at World Vision Cambodia, said that upon seeing how the participation of grandmothers played an important role in the welfare of children, the organisation had launched the project. The programme had been piloted – for 13 months from October 2020 to December 2021 – with projects in Phnom Penh and Kampong Speu with the participation of 600 grandmothers. $47,000 had been spent.
She added that building knowledge, skills and behaviour pertaining to a child’s wellbeing was the main role of a primary carer. Grandmothers had many roles, not just to ensure the children were healthy, but also to stimulate their development and teach them new things. Otherwise, the grandmothers worried that their children would resent them for not taking better care of their grandchildren.
“Many of the grandmothers had many burdens – they were worried and experienced stress and anxiety. This in turn caused high blood pressure or depression in many cases. A lot of the grandmothers were affected in this way,” she said.
She recommended that organisations working with children think about the grandmothers and other family members of children and consider their needs.
“Sometimes, we work exclusively with children, but do not work with grandmothers. It is important to build their social protection capacity. I urge all of our development partners tp please consider supporting the elderly,” she added.
Chea Mary, manager of the Ministry of Health’s National Nutrition Programme who also attended the event, supported the project, saying that it was in line with the context of Cambodia and improved the well-being of grandmothers and children.
“Following the launch of this project, there was a significant increase in the percentage of grandmothers who become more aware of nutrition. The stress in grandmothers also decreased significantly,” she said.