Case Study: Mamma Zamma Moms & Kids Development Group

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The Mamma Zamma Kiss.

The signature greeting between each mamma and child in the Mamma Zamma moms and kids development group, is the Mamma Zamma kiss. The mamma kisses her finger and then presses it on the lips of the child; the child in turns does the same. At first, Thando and Zinthle are a bit apprehensive about this activity. They are not used to being so close to each other. Thando is a single mom and her only income is the child support grant she receives. She is sometimes so stressed about their circumstances, that she has no time for the softer things in life. Zinthle often receives harsh words and gets sent away quickly if she bothers her mom.

Since they have completed the Mamma Zamma Programme, Thando greets Zinthle with the Mamma Zamma kiss every morning. They love to spend time together. Life is still hard, but Thando and Zinthle feel much closer. They spend a lot more time together and Thando is teaching her daughter how to count and recognize the colours in the world around them. The Mamma Zamma kiss is still their favourite and they share the closeness that this programme has taught them, every day.

The Mamma Zamma Moms & Kids Development group is an 11 week, home based Early Childhood Development programme, for poor and vulnerable communities that do not have access to ECD centres. The programme’s innovation lies in the fact that it incorporates attachment building activities (bonding) into a programme that addresses intellectual stimulation for children and parental guidance. The programme was developed by Child Welfare Tshwane, as an early intervention and prevention programme that straddles the educational and social development of children, whilst involving the primary carer in a structured process.

The Mamma Zamma programme enables parents to teach their children basic colours, shapes, concepts and numeracy that will enable them to enter the Grade R year with these skills already in place. By focusing on building the attachment between the primary carer and child through touch, verbal encouragement and building trust between them, resilience factors are built into the relationship that makes it less likely for them to mistreat their children and for the children to display out of control behaviour.

The parental guidance is presented in a support group, where basic information is given and the carers are encouraged to share practices that work and become a support network for each other. The wonder of the Mamma Zamma Programme, is that the hearts of the primary carers and children are unlocked and deeply connected in an enjoyable programme that helps to build the foundation of improved social and educational outcomes, lasting well into the future of the child.


Taking ECD into the community

Lessons Learnt

Having a good program still means that you need the buy-in of the community to implement the program and that you need to give the community members the space to give their input. Working with mothers, care givers and their young children has been very rewarding, but we have also realised that changing the legacy of interrupted parenting takes a long time to redress. The fundamental realisation that mothers (caregivers) want to have a good relationship with their children and that their children want to follow and be loved, has been reaffirmed over and over through our efforts of the Mamma Zamma Programme

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