Project Summary

This study will pilot a family-focused, behavioral health intervention and develop innovative mHealth tools to support Community Health Worker service delivery quality in Sierra Leone. This dual focus will help build urgently needed capacity for delivery of evidence-based mental health services to reduce family violence and harsh parenting practices, and for effective use of mHealth strategies to improve healthcare delivery quality. We will pilot mHealth-supported delivery of the Family Strengthening Intervention for Early Childhood Development (FSI-ECD). The FSI-ECD has demonstrated effectiveness in improving parental emotion regulation and reducing family violence and harsh parenting practices.

Approach & Goals

Aim 1

Employ a five-stage user-centered design approach to develop and test mHealth tools to improve supervision and fidelity monitoring of Community Health Workers.

Aim 2

Conduct a randomized controlled pilot study to assess feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of mHealth-supported delivery of FSI-ECD on parent mental health, emotion regulation, and familial violence in high risk families with children aged 6–36 months (n=40) in comparison to control families (n=40) who receive standard care. Parental mental health, emotion regulation, household violence, and parenting practices will be assessed at baseline, post-intervention and 3-month follow-up. Feasibility, acceptability, and adoption of the FSI-ECD and mHealth tools will be assessed via quantitative measures and key informant interviews. We will also conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis to assess the economic value of the mHealth-supported delivery of the FSI-ECD vs. standard care.

Principal Investigator

Project Support

National Institute of Mental Health



This study involves partnerships with the Sierra Leone Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI); faculty investigator Dr. Rebecca Esliker at the University of Makeni, Sierra Leone; and CARITAS-Freetown, a Sierra Leonean NGO. We have partnered with MadPow, a brand strategy and design studio, and Boston College Adjunct Instructor, Chokdee Rutirasiri, a leader in user-centered design and the development of highly engaging digital experiences for mobile devices, to develop our mHealth tools.