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The initiative on Early Childhool Care and Education

A large body of research has shown the following :

Children who participate in well-conceived ECCE programmes tend to be more successful later in school, are more competent socially and emotionally, and showhigher verbal and intellectual development during early childhood than do children who are not enrolled in high quality programmes.

Providing safe child care allows women the chance to continue their education and learn new skills.

Children who are well nurtured during early years tend to do better in school and stand a better chance of developing the skills required to contribute productively to social and economic development.

While global data on all aspects of ECCE are not available, it is inadmissible that in the year 2000, more than 50 per cent of children aged 3 to5 years had no access to pre-primary education. The situation is particularly worrisome in sub-Saharan Africa where the gross enrolment ratio (GER) in pre-primary education is 18 per cent and, in half of the sub-Saharan African countries, the GER is less than 4 per cent.


The flagship aims to:

Monitor progress towards the first goal in the Dakar Framework for Action" of expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children".

Highlight attention to the importance of integrated early childhood care by building/improving the knowledge base on this issue, and its use in policy and programming.

Demonstrate the positive linkage between ECCE and broader EFA goals (preparation of children for school, increase in achievement and retention in primary school, especially for girls).

Ensure that in five years, the influence and impact of ECCE efforts on achieving EFA goals are more clearly understood and articulated.


The main activities centre on advocacy and knowledge-development to:

Provide updated information related to ECCE in the Dakar Framework and information on countries that include Early Childhood Development (ECD) in their national plans or to collect case studies from these countries.

Collect and analyse studies demonstrating the positive impact of ECCE on other EFA goals.

Pilot ECCE indicators and disseminate the results.

Identify opportunities to influence agenda-setting and modes of work.

Identify processes for raising consciousness and promoting new activities in integrated ECCE.

Promote mothers' participation in the labour market as a way to ensure a better balance between family and work responsibilities.

Empower parents, especially mothers.


Partners include the Academy for Educational Development, Aga Khan Foundation, Bernard van Leer Foundation, Christian Children's Fund, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), the Working Group on Early Childhood Development, Plan International, High Scope Foundation, Pan-American Health Organization, Pueblito Canada, UNICEF, UNESCO, USAID and the World Bank.

Contact Information

Soo Hyang Choi
Section for Early Childhood Care and Inclusive Education
Division of Basic Education
Education Sector
7, place Fontenoy
75352 Paris,
Phone : +33 (0)1 45 68 08 15
Fax : + 33 (0) 1 45 68 56 27
E-mail :
Kathy Bartlett
Aga Khan Foundation
1-3 avenue de la Paix,
1202 Geneve
P.O. Box 2369 / 1211 Geneve 2,
Phone:(41-22) 909-7208
Fax:(41-22) 909-7291
Louise Zimanyi
Ryerson University
School of Early Childhood
350 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5B 2K3 Canada
Tel: (416) 979-5000 ext. 7034
Fax: (416) 979-5239