Date of Meeting: 18 May 2017

Meeting Organizer: Permanent Mission of Samoa; NGO Committee on the Family

ISJC Staff Present: Joseph Halliday

Reporter: Joseph Halliday

Which SDG does this topic cover? 4

Type of meeting: Launch of Global Home Index report – panel and questions

Brief summary of presentation of information made

H.E. Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia: Permanent Representative to the UN, Samoa

  • International Day of Families is a well-deserved celebration and recognition of the family.
  • Parents have a role in helping their children thrive. Targets of SDG 4 make this clear. Compounded by UDHR.
  • Education is not just about the academic - but how to be a productive and responsible member of society, how to solve problems, development of compassion and empathy and so much more.
  • Parenting is challenging but under-appreciated. Singular most satisfying role. One is shaping and moulding the future through raising a child.
  • Education is precious and priceless. Good families are essential to a stable and beneficial society.

Lynn Walsh: Universal Peace Federation

Acted as moderator. Opening remarks: promotion of the critical role of parenting and family; foundation of society; there should be a greater focus on family at the UN.

Dr. Belén Mesurado: Universidad Austral

  • Shared research: ‘Family and Flourishing Life: a Study in 20 Countries’
    • Flourishing considered a richer way of assessing people’s well-being than mere subjective metrics. Emotional, psychological and social well-being are considered.
  • Based on previous studies, quality and frequency of interactions are an indicator of family well-being.
  • 250 participants per country, across 20 countries (diverse range of countries). 40/60 male/female split. Survey available in many languages - still open.
  • Two instruments used to measure: family interactions frequency (e.g. frequency of meals eaten together) and multidimensional flourishing scale (e.g. happy vs. sad, ‘my life is full of meaning’, ‘I am committed to solving social problems’).
  • Results:
    • Emotional, psychological and social well-being are measured - differences across the countries. These do not necessarily agree with World Happiness Report, for instance.
    • Family interaction levels - Kenya is significantly lower than others.
    • Full results in report.
  • Findings:
    • Important role of family interaction in flourishing life regardless of country/culture.
    • Importance of promoting family interaction spaces.
    • Importance of public policies that generate family interaction.

Eve Sullivan: Founder, Parents Forum

  • Parenting education has three main elements:
    • Knowledge about children’s growth and development.
    • Skill in providing care appropriate to the child’s age.
    • Support for the child’s emotional development.
  • Important to remember that not all of the ‘old days’ is good, not all of modern times is bad.
  • Parenting education now:
    • Professional e.g. individual/family counselling, workshops
    • Online training, social media, forums
    • State/court-mandated training
    • Peer-to-peer support
  • ‘Make parenting education universal’ - how? Peer support key - can be incorporated into workforce development. Listening important. Takes parents from confused and isolated, through involved and concerned, to inspired and confident.

Significant question

One member of the audience pointed out that the results of 250 respondents in the country of Kenya had been extrapolated and used as the basis of conclusions for the entire continent of Africa. She felt this was misleading, unreliable and would cause many to get an incorrect impression of African countries. Panelists took this on board, suggested they would seek to correct this and learn from this.

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

  • The Salvation Army runs many programmes for the benefit of families and households. The organization should bear in mind the following findings of the report when planning new groups and events and reviewing existing ones: the important role of family interaction in flourishing life regardless of country/culture, the importance of promoting family interaction spaces and the importance of public policies that generate family interaction.

Web links for more information

Tags: United Nations, SDG4: Quality Education