eMessage Archive

Caregiving practicies - baby wraps & mossbags December 17 2019

Early development is shaped by minute-by-minute, day-by-day sensory input: the seeing, tasting, touching and being touched, the sounds and smells of daily life. Much of this happens through daily caregiving routines.

There is a wide variety of caregiving practices around the world, often rooted in cultural traditions and beliefs. In some North American Indigenous communities adults used moss bags and cradleboards so that a baby could be placed on a mother’s back, carried in a parent’s arms, or propped up near family members. In Africa, baby wraps were used by adults, usually mothers, to wrap and carry a baby in order to keep the baby close throughout the day. Many parents and communities still honour and promote these traditions.

The ‘baby wraps’ video is a brief collage of mothers in Mozambique, carrying and interacting with their closely wrapped babies. In the second video, Audrey Fourre, a Family Literacy Facilitator with the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, talks about moss bags and their important role in caregiving.    

What do you see as the functions or benefits of such practices?  Are there similar practices in your family or community? How can you value and respect these and other practices that support the caregiver-child relationship that is so crucial to early development?

Fairness, equity and action July 18 2018

From a young age, children have a strong sense of what is fair. Often, when children witness something that is unfair, they do not hesitate to act on their own behalf, or on the behalf of others. “That’s not fair!” is a common refrain, even among young children.

Equity is a deeper, more nuanced concept of fairness that takes disparities or inequalities into account before action takes place. Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan often uses an image of earth to begin a discussion on the disparities and inequalities of our world. Watch the first video below and listen as he explains the difference between the terms inequality and inequity. Bhutta makes the point that “inequity is an unjust inequality”.
Around the world, actions at different levels--from individual and grassroots community efforts to government priorities and policies—work to address inequities that exist. In the second video, Dr. Martin Guhn, from the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) in the School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columba, reflects on inequity, child poverty, and the power of research to motivate communities to act.
What actions are you involved with or aware of in your community or region? What are some outcomes? How do these actions and outcomes relate to the concepts of equity and fairness?

Red River College University of Toronto AKDN - Aga Khan Development Network