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For Human Rights Day, UNODC launches the Listen First Campaign, to aid children and parents during COVID-19

Vienna, Austria, 10 December 2020. On Human Rights Day we commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year’s theme is the global COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath; children worldwide are suffering ever more due to COVID-19. Millions are unable to attend schools, especially girls in developing countries, and many lack access even to food and meals, as their parents are also under pressure. 
To that end, UNODC is launching Listen First: The Science of Care, a video and written campaign of information produced by Ethan Films for parents worldwide to help their children now and better prepare them for the future, based on evidence worldwide.  The campaign is using entertaining yet touching videos featuring animated characters combined with families who have volunteered to participate from all over the world, from Kyrgyzstan to Spain and India.  Each episode focuses on a parenting tip, offering the scientific reasons behind how it helps.  For example, one demonstrates how affection such as a hug generates oxytocin, which can stimulate growth, strengthen the immune system and even help wounds to heal faster as well as making children grow smarter, healthier and happier.  Even as important is patient parenting, as patience makes children feel cared for and loved, and neuroscience shows that the child’s brain is not mature enough to calmly handle frustration.
“Parents more than ever need proven strategies, based on science,” says Giovanna Campello, Chief UNODC Prevention, Treatment & Rehabilitation Section, “to support how they raise their children.  As people are forced to work from home, and as COVID-19 contributes to increased stress, more than ever we need to focus on the needs of the children as well as the parents. The buy in already from governments around the world is extraordinary, ranging from Indonesia to Israel, Russia to France.”
Tests of the videos showed extraordinary success for example in places including Kyrgyzstan and Panama where they complement existing UNODC parenting programs focused on effective substance use prevention. 
Dr. Aala El-Khani, Global Humanitarian consultant and Research Associate at the University of Manchester, says, “This program is exactly what children and their parents around the world need right now, as well as their parents. Factual no-nonsense caregiving tips based on science but presented in an entertaining, fun, and realistic loving way.”
Over the coming year(s), the program will focus on ever more children in need, in order to fulfill the Convention on the Rights of the Child to build a world where their rights are upheld, including at home.  The materials, including scientific resources, are all available to parents and caregivers at


To see the new video of Patience, click on this youtube link: