ParentText, launches in South Africa!

The COVID-19 Pandemic highlighted the difficulty in reaching caregivers through in-person programmes, due to financial and human resource constraints. To address these challenges, a digital chatbot adaptation of the in-person Parenting for Lifelong Health programme was developed, with the aim to provide universal access to evidence-based parenting support. 

This week representatives from South Africa’s Department of Social Development, UNICEF South Africa, Clowns Without Borders South Africa, Parenting for Lifelong Health, Innovations in Development, Education and the Mathematical Sciences International, and the Universities of Cape Town and Oxford launched a brand-new parenting chatbot called ‘ParentText’. 

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ParentText sends daily messages via WhatsApp to support caregivers with positive relationship building, online and offline child safety, intimate partner relationships, and stress management. Developed with and for families in South Africa, the programme is available in English, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans, and Setswana, with additional language versions planned for the future.

ParentText was developed during COVID-19 as an interactive chatbot based on evidence-based in-person parenting programmes. These include the Sinovuyo Caring Families Programmes, which have been previously implemented in South Africa and have had positive effects on increasing positive parenting practices and reducing violence against children. 
ParentText was launched at an online webinar hosted by UNICEF South Africa on Monday, 21 November 2022. In her opening, UNICEF South Africa Child Protection Officer Sinah Moruane, noted that, "ParentText comes at the right time and is an innovative solution that will really ensure that our parents are being supported in doing their parenting responsibilities”
Jamie Lachman, the Chief Executive Officer of Parenting for Lifelong Health and Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town commented that ParentText is "a continuation of work that we have been doing in South Africa over the past 15 years. I'm looking forward to seeing how now as we're moving into the digital space, we can continue to work together to achieve universal access to evidence-based parenting support."
During the webinar, Mpume Danisa, the Technical Programme Specialist at Clowns Without Borders South Africa, and Dr Hlengiwe Sacolo, a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Cape Town, facilitated a demonstration of ParentText. This was followed by active engagement and live feedback of attendees as they enrolled and began navigating the chatbot programme.

Mr Percy Ntsoane, the Acting Director: Families at  the National Department of Social Development, stated in his closing remarks that " ParentText has been coming in handy, you know, for them [parents] to get some tips on issues that are really of concern to them."
For more information about ParentText, please contact

If you would like to try out ParentText, it is available now! 
Simply open WhatsApp and message “Hi” to +27 69 335 3250 to access ParentText.