Nurturing care in the Middle East‘Reach Up and Learn’ is a home visiting program that supports caregivers of children 0-3 years old in 18 countries. In response to the Syrian refugee crisis, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) adapted this model to train refugee and host community workers on how to promote opportunities for early learning and responsive caregiving in visits to caregivers of young children in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

Drawing upon the Nurturing Care Framework and its associated evidence base, the program continues to adapt. At present, the team is adjusting its approach because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It continues to reach caregivers with key messages and activities via WhatsApp, providing them with play-based age-appropriate activities to engage their children at home where in-person programs are not possible.

The IRC’s new report — Reach Up and Learn in the Syria Response: Adapting and implementing an evidence-based home visiting program in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria — looks at the way the program was intially adapted and highlights the diverse characteristics of frontline staff and clients, program costs, and the early-stage measurement piloting that was conducted in preparation for the planned randomized controlled trial.

By sharing these experiences and the lessons learned, the report aims to provide practical guidance for early childhood leaders, practitioners, policy-makers and researchers interested in designing, delivering, testing and scaling home visiting programs in crisis- and conflict-affected settings.

Two brief videos help bring the program to life:

  • A 1 minute video looking at the work of a refugee home visitor and his own family in nothern Jordan and;
  • A 4 minute video in which the same man speaks with families about their impressions of the program, and how he applies his ECD skills at home.

The International Rescue Committee has written more about their Reach Up and Learn program here.