Table 5

Motivations and obstacles to engaging in ECD activities

A. Motivations to engage in ECD activitiesNoticeable changes after ECD activitiesBefore…the children played together and we…talked while watching them. But [since your first visit], we all sit together, and we play with [the children]. There is more happiness than before. Since your advice, we are closer, we are happier. What they don’t know, we show them, and they too have things they do, and we also learn. (Mother, 43 years, 6 children, P5:FGD1B)
…as fathers, there is a change. Before we said that to sit…with a child to have fun, it would make a fool out of us, it is pointless!…we did [interact with kids] even if it wasn’t sufficient. But since your arrival it changed. Before it was embarrassing to sit and talk with your baby. (Father, 54 years, 10 children, P2:FGD2B)
Children’s positive reactions to ECD activitiesMe, I tried [the activities] with my 9-month-old. I played with him, I also talked with him. And since I started that, when I come back [home] on my bike, my child crawls towards me. And it’s because of the fact that I played with him. (Father, 37 years, 2 children, P3:FGD6B)
I don’t know about others but for me, [since our first discussion] it’s true that we move around a lot but I at least tried so that [now] if the children see me they call ‘Grandmother, aren’t you going to sing for us?’ (Grandmother, 60 years, 3 children, P1:FGD3B)
Love, desire to help child succeed in lifeIt’s [out of] love for the child, it’s for his personal awakening, so that he will be more intelligent. It’s especially [out of] love because if you don’t love your child you are not going to [engage in these activities]. (Grandmothers, ages unknown, FGD3A)
…now we know that [these activities] are important to make the child smart at school. (Grandmother, 47 years, 5 children, P7:FGD3A)

We talk to him about good things, we teach him about family life…And that which will be useful in the future…so that he takes the right path, he will take care of his family, Papa and Mama, of his community and all of Burkina Faso because a child is not for a single individual, he is for the whole community. (Father, 44 years, 4 children, P5:FGD2B)
Validation of ECD messages[If] during your first visit and again today you assembled us…to discuss, it’s because it’s [for] something important…and the population, in seeing that, knows that it’s to advise us and they already begin to appreciate [what you are saying] because [you came] to develop our village, our children and their future lives. Even the children who will be born later will benefit from what we learned for their well-being also. (Grandmother, 56 years, 5 children, P6:FGD3A)
Negative opinions of others will not deter ECD activitiesF: Do you think anyone in your house or in the community will find it strange or bad that you are talking to your baby who can’t yet talk?
P: …To speak with children is good. Some [people] will find it is not good but others will envy us. Even if [one of those people] can’t do [the activities] the fact that you do them, [the other person] could become inspired from [you] and try to do [the activities] with his children also. (Father, age unknown, FGD2A)
B. Obstacles to engaging in ECD activitiesLimited timeIf you leave your field and you come take care of a baby, that won’t work. We don’t have time because we take care of our families, the stability of the family. The family is structured like that, it’s true. But you have to bring [the family] something to eat. If there isn’t anything to eat in a family, it’s a problem. So in this sense, we can’t say that we are going to sit like this to take care of children as if we no longer have [another] caregiver to take care of the children. It’s not possible. (Father, 44 years, 4 children, P4:FGD2A)
Currently, we talk with [children] all the time but when work in the fields starts, it will no longer be possible. (Grandmother, 50 years, 5 children, P4:FGD3A)
Spousal (dis)-‘harmony’When a child comes towards you and you are happy, that has an effect on the family. When you come home to your house and [the family] welcomes you warmly you yourself are happy and when a child tries to crawl to you to ask for someone to bring [the child] to you quickly and you take him in your arms to go for a short walk with him. But if you come back to your house and the welcome seems cold and the temperature of the courtyard is high [domestic disputes], honestly, it’s not nice. Even when the child sees your face he will not even venture towards you. (Father, 47 years, 5 children, P4:FGD2B)
Innate intelligence/predestination of certain childrenThere is a saying we have…that says: ‘Each child is born with his intelligence.’ (Grandmother, 47 years, 5 children, P7:FGD3A)
What I know is, if a baby comes into the world he comes with his character. (Father, age unknown, FGD2B)
Negative consequences of excessive praiseP2: For example, if you have three children. One behaves but not the other two. If you praise the one who behaves well, the others are going to argue with him and lead him to misbehave.
P3: In praising a child too much, you risk reverse results. That is to say that next time the child will maybe even react contrary to what you want of him.
(Mothers, 44 years, 3 children; 38 years, 5 children, FGD1A)
  • ECD, early childhood development; FGD, focus group discussion.