How can we encourage early childhood programme designers to think about the caregiver as much as the child?

A year-long mixed methods project with The Kays Foundation to understand early childhood and parenting in coastal Kenya.

A literature review and expert interviews led to a month-long ethnographic immersion and a powerful documentary film, validated and evidenced through a quantitative survey.

We were inspired by the aims of The Kays Foundation, which exists to create momentum around early childhood to make it a priority for everyone.

“Decades of research have brought us to the undeniable truth that the early years of human life are inextricably and measurably linked to almost every outcome in adulthood.” - Khilen Nathwani - Founder & CEO, The Kays Foundation

This worked has sparked debate and helped decision-makers in the early child development field to make better decisions on policy, practice and funding.

We workshopped insights and conclusions with The Kays Foundation and local government and NGO stakeholders, to ensure the outputs were owned and co-created with people who could truly act on them. We revisited the women at the heart of the film, checking in with them about the depiction of them and their lives, and receiving their endorsement.

Centring the voices of mothers and their children, our work solidified our belief in the responsibilities of storytellers, including researchers, to do so with respect, dignity and cultural awareness.

We built a microsite to house our report and documentary, so it could act as an ongoing source of insight and guidance for anybody involved in Early Child Development.

"The Good Side was a delight to work with. Their multi-disciplinary team is equipped with the skills, empathy and sensitivity to work strategically in a variety of environments. They were able to integrate multiple rounds of feedback into a complicated project, and deliver a unique and important piece of work that has already created impact in a short space of time" Genevieve Wastie, Consultant at The Kays Foundation
    “Wow – just watched your Mama Kwanza video from Kilifi and Mombasa on mothers and their children under 3... It is such a powerful video, with clear messages, a strong narrative, great pictures etc etc. I found it heart breaking – and very authentic. It paints a very accurate picture of how it is for mothers and their children on the coast. And it needs to be seen by people who make decisions that affect the lives of the children and the parents. Well done, it is great work.” Sarah Forde. Communication consultant, based in coastal Kenya for 20 years.