Play your part as an individual, by using your unique strengths, networks, skills and opportunities to reach and serve young families.
You, in partnership with your church, can work to create a society in which all children have the opportunity to thrive and reach their God-given potential.
Play your part within your church
First step, is your church already activated? If not, you can talk to your pastor about the First Thousand Days (FTD) and becoming a FTD-friendly church by activating your church on the Sikunye website. If your church is already signed up on the journey to becoming FTD-friendly, explore ways you can be part of the FTD team/activities that your Champion and pastor have put forward.
You may have connections to other churches. We encourage you to play a part in spreading the big idea around the amazing opportunity the season of FTD presents. Share links, resources and information with other churches and pastors. We believe that what South Africa needs for the future is a growing network of churches, all committed to serving and loving families in their spaces so that they can provide what their children need for a strong start to life.
Are you an expert in the related fields of the First Thousand Days? Perhaps you are a trained breastfeeding consultant, doula, midwife, dietician, physiotherapist and so on. Let your church – especially your FTD team – know that you can be called on to provide this specialised care and support to families in your church. If you are part of a mid-week gathering of believers in your church, start conversations with them about how you can serve families. Consider meal rosters, visiting rosters, prayer times and baby-sitting services.
Play your part with families around you
Look around you: who in your circle of friends, acquaintances and colleagues are in the season of FTD? Simply ask them how you can support them. There are different phases within the First Thousand Days. Families will experience different needs and the ways in which you can support them will look different. Explore each phase, and your possible response:
- New life: Pregnancy
- The fourth trimester (0-3 months)
- On the move (3-12 months)
- Toddler years (12-24 months)
You can pray for these families. With their permission, you can set up a Whatsapp group of friends and family members to share prayer requests with others. Be aware of the FTD activities in your church and surrounds. This ensures that you can invite families to these various spaces and opportunities. Use your social network to recruit families to ensure they have the support, information and care they need for effective parenting.
Play your part within your spheres of influence
In your workplace, you can advocate for FTD-friendly practices. With what you have learned about this season of life, explore the various policies within your workplace. Start conversations about how it could be improved. Read more on First Thousand Day Friendly Workplaces.
If you are an employer, consider the above factors. What are some changes you can make to ensure your employee(s) have the best opportunities to nurture greatness in their children whilst in your employ?
Where you notice FTD “unfriendly” practices in society, start a conversation with decision makers to help improve public spaces for families. Consider breastfeeding areas, family-bathrooms, baby-changing spaces, how accessible a space is for a family with a pram and so on.
The church is uniquely positioned and already equipped to strengthen families to better nurture their children in the First Thousand Days (FTD) of life. We, the church, can have an impact, not only on the lives within our church congregation and neighbourhood, but bring about change in our nation.