The RCP is the flagship programme of the FDCC. It is an early childhood development and family support programme designed to strengthen the care environment of children from birth to age three years, particularly young children in rural communities who :
It is therefore a “safety net” for the Caribbean’s most vulnerable youngsters by providing early stimulation to children and parenting education to caregivers.
Services are delivered by Roving Caregivers (Rovers) – they provide direct support to children and their families who would otherwise lack access to formal early childhood development services.
This programme was originally based on the Jamaican RCP model, and has since been adapted and appropriated, giving rise to a wholly Caribbean indigenous model of best practice.
Two bolt-on modules have been developed to complement and focus the RCP, depending on country-specific requirements. They are the Family Learning Programme (FLP) and Early Childhood Outreach (ECHO) programme.
Figure 1 : The RCP and its Complementary Service Modules
The RCP is a multi-site programme (implemented in several Caribbean countries) with many commonalities at each site.
In addition to teaching parents and other caregivers how to build a healthy learning environment (early stimulation, health and nutrition), the RCP also trains young adults in their communities – the Rovers. It gives them the opportunity to develop knowledge, self-esteem and community acceptance.
How the RCP Works
Young men and women are recruited to serve as community Roving Caregivers (Rovers). With detailed and continuous training, Rovers work in their home communities, making regular visits to target group families with children.
During home visits, Rovers involve children in play activities that support the development of their motor, perceptual, emotional and cognitive skills. They also offer tips and guidance to parents on promoting early childhood development and learning, health, hygiene and safety.
In addition, Rovers coordinate Parent Support Programmes in their communities, bringing parents together each month to increase their knowledge of early childhood development strategies and to collectively develop income-generating activities. Training is a key principle – everyone is trained by the RCP: children, parents and Rovers. Training meetings are held every two weeks to reinforce teaching delivered by Rovers during home visits. Each RCP is continually assessed and improvements made as required. And the FDCC partners with local agencies in each country of operation.
Although each Caribbean country of operation has different and even unique features, they share commonalities including poverty, mountainous terrains, and practically inaccessible interior communities and homes. This creates issues of access to daycare centres, levels of isolation and invariably uninformed child-rearing skills.
Country Project Communities : Dominica - The target areas are: Antrizzle, Kalinago/Carib, Territory, Castle Bruce, Tranto, Dipax, Good Hope, San Sauveur & Petite Soufriere
Partner Agency : Child Fund Caribbean
Start Date : March 2004
No. of Rovers (2011) : 21
No. of Families (2011) : 145
No. of Children (0-3, 2011):149
Current Local Coordinators : Mrs. Nisbertha Buffong
Project Coordinator, RCP Dominica
T : (767) 448 8817 F : (767) 449 8006
Country Project Communities:Grenada - The target parishes are: St. David, St. Andrew
Partner Agency:1. Ministry of Social Development
2. Grenada Community Development Organization (GRENCODA)
Start Date:January 2005
No. of Rovers (2011):30
No. of Families (2011):412
No. of Children (0-3, 2011):445
Current Local Coordinators : Miss Dawne Cyrus
Project Coordinator, RCP Grenada
T : (473) 417 6661/(473) 440 6003/7952
F : (473) 440 6004
Country & Project Communities : St. Lucia - The target areas are: Monchy and Environs, Dennery and Environs, Aux - Lyon, Belle Vue, Augier and Environs, Cantonement, Coolie Town, Anse-La-Raye and Environs, Bois D'inde,Jacmel and Environs
Partner Agency : 1 . Early Childhood Services Unit
2 . Ministry of Education and Culture
Start Date : March 2004
No. of Rovers (2011) : 23
No. of Families (2011) : 402
No. of Children (0-3, 2011) : 420
Current Local Coordinators : Ms. Ruth Phillips Fevrier
Project Coordinator, RCP St. Lucia
T : (758) 451-7710 T/F : (758) 451 6964
Country & Project Communities : St. Vincent - The target areas are : Sandy Bay Communities, Barrouallie, Byera, Colonaire
Partner Agency:Ministry of National Mobilization et al
Start Date : November 2004
No. of Rovers (2011) : 15
No. of Families (2011) : 289
No. of Children (0-3, 2011) : 291
Current Local Coordinators : Mrs. Judith Hull-Ballah
Project Coordinator, RCP St. Vincent
T : (784) 457 1427 / (784) 457-2697