Dost reaches its users, or the parents or caregivers, through its product ‘Phonecasts’, which are 60-90 seconds long automated calls over a period of six months. Each such call is followed by a ‘prompt’, a monitoring tool embedded in the product itself, which gauges program engagement, knowledge gain and feedback, and facilitates a comprehensive assessment of program effectiveness and progress. At the end of the program, a user would have answered approx. 60 prompts across 19 modules, categorised under baseline (before intervention) and endline (after intervention) indicators to assess 25 specific outcomes. These outcomes are further evaluated through a set of 46 indicators that fall into three distinct categories: Knowledge, Attitude/Mindset and Behaviour (‘KAB’).
This report takes a look at some of the impact our program has had on 119.2K users in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh between June ‘21 and September ‘22, through data collected via prompts to capture user-reported information regarding parent awareness and behavioural changes, as well as changes observed in the child. However, it may be noted that the prompts are delivered over a period of time and are not mandatory in nature. Owing to which, the number of respondents per prompt may vary and the data below is only a reflection of responses received per corresponding prompt(s).
Transforming houses into an environment for development
Dost is an avid advocate for ‘education begins at home’, and therefore, we nudge users towards creating an environment for their children to begin learning at home. Our program explores ways in which users can use household items or assign their children menial chores to keep them engaged. By the end of the program, we observed that 55% of users showed an affirmative attitude towards the importance of a home environment for their children’s development, with 58% users starting to encourage their children to use household items to learn and play.
Some of the modules focus on cognitive development through experiential learnings. For example, talking about colours and shapes with children (as reported by 70% of users). At the end of the program, a significant 88% of users reported that their child could learn basic maths and science concepts at home itself. Thus allowing children to be school ready in their own homes.
A high number of caregivers reflect the importance of Talk, Care and Play
Through our program, we emphasise on the importance of Talk, Care and Play, i.e., how children’s brains can be developed while playing and talking to them. Throughout our program, we encourage caregivers to play with their children regularly, and by the end of the program, 45% users with children aged between 0 and 3 years reported an increase in the time spent on talk and play with their children, with 77% users realising the importance of talking to young children.
Change in parental behaviour
One of the most important factors for a child’s healthy development is a healthy environment at home. To encourage this, we also have content that focuses on removal of toxic stress by making users aware (as reported by 77% of users) of how fights among parents or family members and usage of verbal abuses could be detrimental to their child’s development, and pushes for a positive parental behaviour instead.
Some of the ways users are encouraged to reflect on their behaviour is by allowing the children time and patience to do and learn things on their own. As a result, 80% of users reported to believe that repeated interruption could hinder the child’s development, while 62% believed that comparing their child with another could have negative implications on the child. One of the biggest attitude shifts was observed in the users’ understanding of the word ‘naughty’ and ‘naughtiness’. 64% users understood that naughtiness need not be a bad thing, and could also be an indication of a child’s eagerness to learn and explore, and 76% users believed that a naughty child is likely to learn fast, thereby allowing their children’s curiosity to help them learn and grow.
A ‘friend’ in need
Dost program is the friend, or support, that most parents seek to help raise their child. Therefore, our program is especially useful for such users, who are first-time parents, or are unaware of how to manage their child’s difficult behaviour. 57% of our users reported that most of their stress came from being a parent, and 60% admitted that our Phonecasts helped them to be confident in managing their child at home.
One of the most common complaints from parents of young children is their exposure to mobile phones and TVs. To counter this, our program suggests and recommends various simple activities and games such as role-playing what the child saw on TV, segregating socks by colour, making hand puppets with socks, etc., which keep children occupied. About 80% of our users expressed their intention to adopt these activities as they found them to be helpful to reduce their child’s screen time. Overall, there was a 78% user satisfaction towards Dost Phonecasts and Program.
The findings of this report highlight the significant impact of the Dost program in increasing user engagement and creating awareness about various aspects of child development. The data demonstrates positive changes observed among users, including increased awareness of the importance of the home environment, consent and safe play, early years in child development, positive behaviours, art as a medium for development, and increased practice of play and interaction with the child. The crude numbers presented provide a clear understanding of the extent of change and emphasise the program's effectiveness in promoting positive parenting practices and fostering holistic child development.