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The findings > Thematic Studies> ECCD>Part 6
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VI. In Closing: Thoughts On the Role of International Organisations
 
In this international forum, organised by international organisations, it seems appropriate to reflect on the role that has been, and can be, played by international organi-sations in promoting and supporting programmes directed at improving the care and devel-opment of young children. In gathering information for this review of ECCD, it was clear that international organisations have been given credit for and have played several important roles in helping ECCD to extend and improve. These include assistance in providing frameworks for analysis and action (Jomtien, the Convention), strengthening the knowledge base and disseminating information (supporting research, evaluation, monitoring, the creation of net-works, publications, etc), advocating (by organising international fora, by negotiating conditions for financial support, and by marshalling the media), as well as by providing technical and financial support. These efforts have certainly contributed to many of the "advances" noted earlier.
 
At the same time, it is important to recognise that these forms of assistance repre-sent interventions that imply certain value positions, that they depend for their result as much on the manner in which the assistance is offered as they do on the amount of assistance provided, and that can have negative as well as positive consequences. Consider the following:
 

a. Frameworks and knowledge -- the basis for lobbying and constructing ECCD programmes -- continue to originate, for the most part, in the Minority World. According-ly, a tension often arises between "received truth" linked to the Minority World knowledge base and values guiding an agency, and local knowledge linked to another set of values rooted in some part of the Majority World. These may over-lap, but are different. Within the international community there are tensions as well. For instance, the universal rights framework being espoused by some can conflict with a needs-based approach and "targeting". The way in which these tensions are handled determines to some degree how "success" is defined for projects and can wind up creating a barrier to action because agreement is lacking. Implications:

Although the current attention to involving all "stakeholders" in the process of creating a project represents an important step toward breaking with the past tendency to impose, we are far from making that participation real and meaningful. Additional work is needed to change past styles and methods.

Major changes are needed in the consultant system which continues to depend for technical assistance on Minority World consultants (myself included). More effort should be put into drawing upon local knowledge and experience, embodied in local consultants.

 

b. Because programming for ECCD is at an early stage in many countries, it is possible to construct programmes in innovative ways, taking into account differing conditions, seeking convergence, and involving local communities in the process. This implies a need to move slowly, to experiment and reinvent, to build collaborative enterprises, to nurture, to support a variety of initiatives and to build capacity. Unfortunately, these needs run counter to social and political desires to move quickly so that as many people as possible are served. They run counter to bureaucratic desires to simplify administration by providing the same service to all and to avoid collaboration across sectoral lines. And they run counter to the characteristics of many international organisations where promotion and success is equated with the numbers of children and families served, with the ability to promote the particular doctrine of the agency, and/or with the ability to move money. The quantitative focus and a sense of urgency inhibits developing quality programmes, current rhetoric notwithstanding. Implications:

Place less emphasis on expanding enrolments and on extending one particular programme to all; place more emphasis on quality, beginning with solid support for training, with local input into what is considered a quality programme, and with a vision of "scale" as the sum of many efforts.

Take a longer term view and begin slowly; avoid overloading systems financially with too much money too soon.

Develop loan and grant instruments that are demand driven rather than supply-driven, that allow varied responses to differentiated local demands.

Find ways to work more meaningfully on the ground with NGOs.

For many international organisations, the changes suggested above constitute a huge challenge that goes to the heart of how organisations function. In a meeting where commitment to change by national governments is being sought, a parallel commitment might be asked of international organisations that goes well beyond a resource commitment and includes re-examination of values and the ethics of intervention styles and modes of operation.
 

REFERENCES

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Penn, H. (February 1999). "Researching in the Majority World - Is it feasible or ethical? " A paper presented to the Thomas Coram Research Institute, Institute of Education, University of London. (Mimeo).

Peralta, M.E and G. Fujimoto. (julio de 1998) La Atención Integral de la Primera Infancia en América Latina: Ejes centrales y los desafíos para el siglo XXI. Washington, D.C.: Organización de Estados Americanos, julio de 1998.

Schweinhart, L., et. al. (1993) Significant Benefits: The High/Scope Perry Pre-school Study Through Age 27. Monograph No. 10. Ypsilanti, Michigan: High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.

"Report of Commission One: Early Childhood Care and Education." African Regional Meeting on Education for All. Johannesburg, December 6-10, 1999. (provided by Soo Choi who was a resource person to the Commission at the meeting)

Republic of Malawi, Ministry of Women, Youth and Community Service. (October 1998) "National Early Childhood Development Policy." Mimeo.

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UNESCO and Organisation Mondiale por l'Education Prescolaire. (1997) "Educating the Young Child in Europe, Acts of the European Seminar 24-27 October 1996." Paris, UNESCO.

UNESCO. "General Tendencies in Basic Education in Spanish, Portuguese and French Speaking Countries: Insufficient Performances." (provided by Soo Choi)

Woodhead, M. (1996) In Search of the Rainbow: Pathways to Quality in Large Scale Programmes for Young Disadvantaged Children. The Hague: Bernard van Leer Foundation.

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Appendix 1. Survey of Knowledgeable People in the Field of ECCD
 

The Survey Instrument contained an introductory statement, a request for personal information (years of experience, present position, place of origin and present location) and the perspective from which the response to the survey was being made, together with the following five questions:

1. What have been the main "advances" or achievements in the ECCD field during this decade?

2. What have been the major reasons for these advances and/or the major barriers to progress in the field?

3. What ECCD projects of programmes do you think have been particularly effective?

4. What are the most important problems in the field of ECCD that still need to be resolved?

5. What would you suggest as priority lines of action for the next decade in ECCD?

This survey does not pretend to be representative. The people chosen were known by the author to be people who are knowledgeable about the field from a variety of perspectives or in a few cases were people recommended who fulfil the same criterion. The Instrument was sent by e-mail to 120 people. Sixty-two individuals replied (52%). Of these, 37 people replied with reference to the country in which they were living/working; 9 replied from a regional perspective; and 16 were global responses.
 
Geographic Distribution
 
The 37 country level replies came from 22 countries, distributed as follows:

Latin America (Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Argentina) 11

Caribbean (Jamaica) 1

Sub-Saharan Africa (Ivory Coast, Ghana, Liberia, Tanzania, Kenya, Zanzibar) 8

Middle-East and N. Africa (Turkey, Egypt, Yemen) 3

S.E. Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore) 4

S. Asia (India , Bangladesh and Nepal) 6

China, Hong Kong, Mongolia 3

Europe (Sweden) 1....... 37

 
The regional responses came from:
Latin America 4
Africa 4
SE. Asia 1 9
Global responses 16
Total ..62
 

The distribution of the institutional location of respondents was as follows:

University 13

NGOs (including 4 int'l NGO) 16

Foundations (all from van Leer Foundation) 6

UNICEF 16

UNESCO 2

Other UN-related agencies (World Bank, IADB, OAS) 5

Other international (OECD, USAID) 2

Govenment agency 2 62

 
Field of Expertise
 
Only two of four respondents came from health or nutrition backgrounds and programmes. Most came from an early childhood development and/or education background. Respondents also included people with backgrounds in economics, psychology, anthropology, and in several cases the background was unknown.
 
Accumulated Experience
 
The total years of experience in the field of early childhood that has been accumulated by the 60 respondents who indicated their experience was 1004 years.
 
APPENDIX 2. EFFECTIVE PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES
 

The survey of knowledgeable people asked respondents to "Identify the ECCD programmes and/or projects that you think are particularly effective and comment briefly on the reasons for their effectiveness." In addition, the author received various publications that described programmes thought to be, in some sense, effective. In this appendix, I will review the answers from survey respondents. In presenting these results, the reader should understand that I am not endorsing as "effective" any of the programmes but am simply reporting what others have said they think are effective programmes. The analysis that follows suggests that:

1. There is no lack of examples of programmes that are considered effective

2. The reasons why programmes are considered effective are diverse

3. Many options are mentioned including: centre and home based programmes; governmental, NGO, and community initiatives; formal, nonformal and informal programs; child, family, and community-focused programmes; programmes using the mass media; programmes attached to health and/or nutrition initiatives; transition programmes; toy libraries; work-related care; action research projects; training and capacity-building programmes; programmes for displaced children; advocacy efforts; etc.

4. Some programmes are effective for a time but lose their effectiveness, suggesting the need for a constant process of renewal.

Some respondents replied in terms of general characteristics of ECCD programmes that they thought made programmes effective. These included characteristics such as:

Community-based programmes with active participation and discussion, respecting cultural patterns

Attend to children in poverty situations in an integral way and in context

Builds on and expands local knowledge and responds to local demand, engendering ownership

Responds to an identified set of parental and community needs, then adjusts

Provide training and capacity-building; builds cadres of new leaders

Improve family capacity for care

Are directed to children in the earliest years (0 to 3) and to the most needy ¨ Bring together financial and human resources

High quality (but not necessarily high cost)

Finds ways to institutionalise the programme/project within the community

Incorporates monitoring and evaluation to be able to adjust and disseminate to others

(See also the general comments at the end)
Other respondents made reference to specific programmes in their country or elsewhere that they thought were effective, sometimes providing reasons. The following is a listing organised by country of the projects or programmes mentioned. It in no way exhausts the possibilities which would have been increased many fold by extending the number of people participating. Following each item is an indication of the perspective the respondent was applying when answering and the institutional location of the respondent.
 
Argentina
 

1. Programa Vida providing nutritional supplements to pregnant mothers and children 0 to 6 through a network run by community women . Effective because it appears to have virtually eliminated malnourishment in one province. (Argentina/Univ.)

2. Centros de Desarrollo de PROMIN. Effective because they have a solid theoretical base, continuous training, are integral, and have been sustained. (Arg/gov)

 
Bosnia
 
1. Building Community through Education. Programme to meet the needs of displaced women and their children. Has strengthened civil society and prepared children for school in a stable and secure environment. Success is linked to provision of a basic package of materials coupled with experienced pedagogical leadership, and training and capacity-building of local early childhood associations. (Int'l, NGO)
 
Botswana
 
1. Kuru Development Trust (Int'l/Foundation)
 
Brazil
 

1. Legal bases have been set in the Constitution and Educational laws (Brazil/UNICEF)

2. Also mentioned were a variety of general initiatives including centre-based programmes, radio and TV programmes, health programmes, toy libraries and others but without mention of particular programmes. (Brazil/UNICEF)

3. Child Development project in Curvelo using public and open spaces. (Brazil/Univ)

 
Chile
 

1. Integra (Int'l, Bank; Regional/Univ)

2. Junta Nacional de Jardines Infantiles (JUNJI) (Int'l/Bank; Regional/Univ.)

 
China
 
1. Parents-school initiative. (Int'l/UNICEF)
 
Colombia
 

1. The PROMESA Project. A parental education programme linked to driving a broader community development initiative. Effective because it "transferred skills acquired in the context of early childhood development to the broader array of needs in severely deprived communities"; leadership; effective organisation on the ground; systematic capacity-building. (Int'l, NGO; Int'l/Foundation; Int'l/bi-lateral)

2. Rural Children. A variant of the national programme of home day care directed to rural areas. Effective because of: strong leadership and organisational backing with courage to operate in a difficult environment; responds to the characteristics and needs of the participants; has good documentation. (Int'l/Foundation) 3. Home Day Care and its variations throughout Latin America (Int'l/UNICEF)

 
Cuba
 
1. Educa a Tu Hijo. (Regional/Univ)
 
Egypt
 
1. The Home-based Early Intervention Programme to Train Mothers of Young Handicapped Children at Home. (Regional, Arab countries/NGO)
 
El Salvador
 
1. Children of Street Vendors in San Salvador providing childcare and development in centres run by an NGO. It is successful because it: was well designed and tested; included good training of local educators on the job; is multi-faceted; involves mothers in the centres; has a follow-up programme; has strong leadership; is well funded; has resisted attempts at politicisation; keeps good records. (Int'l/Foundation)
 
Haiti
 

1. A parental education programme called "Konesans fanmi se lespwa ti moun" (Knowledge of the parents is hope for the children that takes place in health centres and non-formal pre-school centres. Effective because it developed a multi-alliance partnership, a variety of didactic materials, has trained workers well, and is coordinated with mass media. (Haiti/UNICEF)

2. Les Centres de Meres Merchandes (The trader mothers centre). Effective because it combined care for children during the time mothers were in the market with parental education and literacy programmes for the mothers) (Haiti/UNICEF)

 
India
 

Field level examples: (India, NGO)

1. Palmyrah Workers"Development Society, Tamil Nadu

2. Mobile Creches, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi

3. Apnalaya, Mumbai

4. Investment in Man, Pune

5. Society for Integrated Development of the Himalayas, Mussoorie

6. Aga Khan Education Services Day Care Centres, Gujarat

7. Deepalalya, New Delhi

8. Bodh, Jaipur

Training and Capacity-Building examples; (India,NGO)

1. Chetna, Ahmedabad

2. Centre for Learning Resources, Pune

3. M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai

4. Mobile Creches, Delhi

Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS), in conception but not implementation (Int'l/Foundation)

Also mentioned (India/NGO):

1. The Urmul Trust, Bajju

2. Family Day Care in Bombay

 

Kenya

1. Madrassa Resource Centres (Int'l/Foundation; Zanzibar/government). Commnity-owned pre-schools which use an integrated curriculum, incorporating secular teaching into Islamic centres.

2. The training programme offered nationally and at district levels (Int'l/free-lance; Int'l/Univ.)

 

Laos

1. Community-based programmes evolved on the basis of community-perceived needs. (regional/UNICEF)

 

Malaysia

1. A 10-year research project identifying the increasing gap between advantaged urban children and disadvantaged urban and rural children. (Malaysia/Univ)

 

Mongolia

1. Programme run by Save the Children/UK because, in a poor country with harsh climate, catastrophic budget cuts during a period of transition, it has worked within a broader poverty alleviation programme and with existing system of kindergartens and local personnel to halt decline in provision and to develop the system to reach and support the poorer families. (Int'l/univ)

 

Nepal

1. Seto Gurans community-based development centres. Effective because it trained local facilitators to use local materials in multiple ways, focussed on learning in the immediate environment in a hands on and practical way. (Nepal/NGO)

2. Parenting Education. A three-month non-formal programme implemented by local NGOs. Effective because participants really want to know the subject matter. (Nepal/UNICEF)

3. Interactive Radio Instruction. A series of 20-minute radio programmes (40 programmes) for groups of 4 or more children aged 3 to 5 and their caregivers. (Nepal/UNICEF)

4. Community-based child development centres supported on a matching fund basis bringing community support and "hopefully long-term sustainability." (Nepal/UNICEF)

5. Orientations for locally elected leaders. (Nepal/UNICEF)

 

Netherlands

1. The Averroes program that places emphasis on helping communities design/choose their own programs working from a menu of good practices and partial models. (Int'l/UNESCO)

 

New Zealand

Back yard pre-schools. (int'l, NGO)

 

Peru

1. Programa No-formal de Educación Inicial (PRONOEI) (Peru, Univ)

2. PIETBAF (Peru/Univ and Peru/UNICEF

3. PAIGRUMA (Peru/Univ and Peru/UNICEF)

4. Wawa Wasi (Peru/Univ and Peru/UNICEF) Potential for effectiveness linked to tapping natural and spontaneous networks of community support for stressed families not yet realized (Peru/Univ)

5. Also mentioned (Peru/UNICEF): credit programmes for women; radio progammes for families; the "pastoral de la infancia"; community kitchen programmes; immunisation and other health initiatives; maternal-child social security programme; supplementary feeding programmes.

6. The Peruvian example was also mentioned for the variety of the non-formal, non-conventional programmes that have grown over 26 years to cover about 40% of the population. (Regional/OAS)

 
 
Philippines
 

1. Community of Learners Foundation (COLF) (Int'l/Foundation)

2. The "bridging" programme from early childhood to primary school through an 8-weeks early childhood programme in grade one. Effective because it helped mitigate early disadvantage faced by poor children without prior ECCD programme participation. (Philippines/UNICEF)

 
Singapore
 

1. Child care centres motivated by the need to encourage women to re-enter the work-force. Effectiveness because good pre-and in-service training, generous care-giver/child ratios, licensing of facilities, bi-lingual. (regional/UNICEF; Singapore/NGO)

2. Regional Training and Research Centre. Effective because it provides a good integration of theory and practice (Singapore/NGO)

3. Children's Library. Effective because it has strong government funding and provides easy access for children in the local community. (Singapore/NGO)

 
South Africa
 

1. The Rehlahliwe community motivators programme. Effectively meets community needs because it builds on community cultural values and childrearing practices. (S.Afr/NGO)

2. The Centre for Early Childhood Development's leadership and management training programme. Effective because it enhances leadership and management skills of programme supervisors. (S.Afr./NGO)

 
Sweden
 
1. Swedish day care and pre-school programmes which are integral, train well, are intended to meet family and particularly women's needs as well as children's, are complemented by broader social programmes benefiting children and are set within a favourable economic setting. (Int'l/OECD; Sweden/Univ.)
 
Thailand
 
1. Integrated Program for Child and Family Development. Effective because it improved child care and convinced government to support a nation-wide venture. Built on what the community knows and does, adding technical components. At the pilot stage effectiveness assured by excellent technical and conceptual planning, careful implementation including monitoring and evaluation. (Int'l/ NGO; Int'l/Foundation)
 
Trinidad y Tobago
 
SERVOL
 
Turkey
 
The Mother-Child Parent Education Programme. (Turkey/NGO; Int'l/bi-lateral)
 
United Kingdom
 
Perception. This programme is effective because it uses art and creativity as the basis for young children's learning. (S.Afr/NGO)
 
United States
 

1. The High/Scope Perry Pre-school project. Effective because of its evaluation which had an impact on policy-makers. (Int'l, NGO; Peru/Univ)

2. Head Start. (Peru, Univ; Int'l/Foundation)

3. CEDEN, a community based programme for Latin immigrant families. Successful because it was continuous, comprehensive, community- and home-based with a high level of parent participation and a fully built in evaluation system. (Int'l/bi-lateral)

 
Zanzibar
 
1. The Ministry of Education/UNICEF project which: reviewed the curriculum used in public pre-schools; established a multi-sectoral task force to help write training materials; trained pre-school teachers in the development of play materials; carried out studies; and advocated. (Zanzibar/gov't)
 
Other
 

1. The "Facts for Life" communication programme providing a limited number of key messages about early childhood. Effectiveness is linked to simplicity (a distillation of knowledge) and to the liberty to use the materials in what ever way seems most suitable, allowing "ownership" of the ideas. (Int'l/UESCO)

2. "In Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Liberia the commercial privately owned services have not only been sustainable but have been remarkably popular -- possibly because they meet a real need among the urban elite." (Regional/UNICEF)

3. Child to child; programmes that give space for older children to remain involved with younger siblings and neighbours (Peru/University)

4. Programmes that involve fathers and uncles. (Peru/University)

5. The Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development has been successful in pooling scientific, policy and programme knowledge and encouraging collaboration among actors. (Int'l/Foundation)

6. The Joint Training Initiative which has been built into the ECCD policies of Mauritius and Namibia. (Int'l/free-lance)

7. Various large NGO initiatives in countries such as Eritrea and South Africa which have concentrated on enabling local communities to take ownership of ECD programmes and not to become dependent on foreign funding. (Regional.Univ.)

 
General Comments
 

1. Examples need to be treated with a great deal of caution because some are effective for a time but lose their effectiveness. "There seems to be something about the process of creating that generates commitment. Once a programme goes to scale, or the context changes considerably, the nature of the programme changes and frequently they become less effective." (Evans)

2. There are literally thousands of successful initiatives in the region (Latin America) that need to be detected, evaluated and disseminated. (Latorre)

3. Programmes are most effective that combine care and education, that respond to needs of parents as well as children, that are of good quality (offer diverse experiences, comfort and the joy of living and provide physical, moral and psychological help), and are flexible and adjusted to local conditions. (Rosemberg)

4. Unfortunately, all the effective ECCD projects I have seen are small-scale, driven by a particular individual/group/community. (Int'l/UNICEF)

5. The most effective programmes are the non-formal, non-conventional programmes that respond to concrete socio-economic condicions; transcend the local in their outreach; reach the poorest and most isolated communities; value the cultural patrimony of each social group; involve parental and community participation; facilitate innovation; are integral and flexible; attend to needs of both children and adults; obtain a sound institutional base that sustains them; and includes permanent training for its staff. (Gaby)

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