The Human Safety Net and the Novak Djokovic Foundation opened the first of 15 new parenting centres last week in Kovačica, Serbia, thanks to an innovative ‘scaling up’ initiative. By December, 10 new centres will have opened.
By the end of 2022, a total of 15 centres in cities and towns throughout the country will be supporting families with children living in vulnerable circumstances. The centres will all deliver the ‘Support, not perfection’ programme, developed by the Novak Djokovic Foundation, which focuses on early childhood development (ECD).
‘Support, not perfection’ provides a 10-week parenting course and was first launched in 2018 to give parents support and advice to enable their young children, aged between 0-6 years old, to develop to their full potential.
The programme consists of two-hour workshops, held on a weekly basis with a small group of parents/caregivers. Led by skilled facilitators, participants share stories, socialise, and participate in activities with their children and discussions that expand their knowledge of child development and brain development. It also provides them with the opportunity to develop and practice their communication, problem-solving, self-regulation and coping skills.
The rapid national expansion of the programme – as well as the creation of the 15 new parenting centres – has been enabled by The Human Safety Net’s ‘Scale Up Impact’ initiative. This multi-year strategy offers financial and non-financial support to selected pioneering NGOs that are running innovative programmes, with the aim of replicating and expanding their work nationally, so amplifying the social impact.
Crucially – as an expression of one of our main principle of acting as an Open net - the expansion of the programme in Serbia will include both local and national government involvement. Local municipalities have committed to running the parenting centres autonomously by 2024, incorporating them into the family services provided by government. Other private sector organisations will also be encouraged to become involved via fundraising and donations.
The initial ‘Support, not perfection’ programme had supported 400 parents. However, by the end of December, the Novak Djokovic Foundation aims to have organised five cycles of workshops, supporting a total of more than 2,000 parents. From next year onwards, each of the new centres is expected to deliver five cycles annually, as well as providing additional support to families who need it. The Scale Up Impact investment has also enabled the Novak Djokovic Foundation to provide training to pre-school teachers and other professionals working in ECD.
Across The Human Safety Net’s global community, Scale Up Impact is currently investing a total of €7million between 2020-2022 with selected NGOs to allow them to scale their successful projects nationwide, as well as providing them with additional capacity-building support and facilitating cross-sectoral collaboration with public, private and social sectors.