Bouba and Zaza Collection for Africa
The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and UNESCO's Regional Office in Dakar launched "Childhood Cultures", an intergenerational African series of children's books. Through the experiences of the main characters Bouba and Zaza, the series seeks to develop life and socialization skills outside the family context among children aged 3 to 8. The books are designed to help children debate such topics as war and conflict, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the issue of water resources and environmental protection - topical subjects which affect the lives of African families and which parents are sometimes reluctant to address. They are also aimed at older children, parents and teachers.
The concept of "Bouba and Zaza" was developed by ADEA's Working Group on Early Childhood Development (WGECD) and UNESCO's Regional Office in Dakar, in collaboration with education specialists in Africa from ADEA and UNESCO, the Publisher Michel Lafon Education and African illustrators. The book series addresses the shortage of children's books adapted to African contexts. A study conducted in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Togo on child-rearing resources available to parents shows that children from 0 to 4 years of age generally have no books at home, especially in rural areas.
Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Early Childhood, Singapore
With the support of UNESCO, UNICEF and other international organizations (Plan International, Open Society Foundation and Save the Children Alliance), the Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC) and the Seeding Early Education Institute, Singapore (SEED), organized the "Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Early Childhood Development" in Singapore on 8-10 November 2011. The theme of the Conference was Early Experiences Matter: Policies and practices for ensuring holistic development for very young children, with a focus on policies and programmes for children ages 0-3 - an area highlighted by the World Conference on ECCE as requiring further attention. Its objectives were:
- provide a forum to widen and enrich regional understanding on the recent research and innovations;
- provide opportunities for national partners and members to review their early childhood policy provision through sharing of policy tools and experiences from other countries;
- facilitate debate on the strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats for the improved policy and programming;
- promote networking among participants to build stronger partnerships; and
- create opportunities for professional development and learning.
The 12th Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting of National EFA Coordinators
National EFA coordinators, Education officials, and EFA partners met on 25-28 July 2011 in Seoul, Republic of Korea to discuss on EFA progress with consideration of the target year of 2015. The meeting aimed at facilitating information exchange among countries on progress, challenges and good practices related to the six EFA Goals, including EFA Goal 1 on ECCE. The meeting served as a forum to discuss with countries and EFA partners on how to accelerate progress towards 2015 and the kind of support needed for this. It was also a venue for countries to learn from the experience of the host country, the Republic of Korea, in relation to the contribution of education to national development. Discussions focused on:
- Using data and evidence for improved policy and learning
- making education more relevant and responsive to the needs of national development;
- governance and the roles of State and non-state providers in financing EFA; and
- improving data collection, monitoring, evaluation and assessment, among others. This meeting was organized by the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in collaboration with the Korean National Commission for UNESCO and UNICEF.
On 31 Aug - 02 Sep 2011, the Organization of American States, in coordination with the government of Paraguay, organized a Hemispheric Meeting on Evaluation in Early Childhood Education in Asunción, Paraguay for national directors of early childhood and pre-school education of all its Member States, international organizations, civil society organizations and companies. The theme of the meeting was “A Quality-Oriented Approach to the Assessment of Education: Monitoring the Commitment to Early Childhood Education,” and contributed to the capacity building of the assessment, monitoring and follow-up of early childhood care by its participants. A related meeting of government officials, civil society and private enterprise in the region was held on 27–29 2011 September in Lima, Peru. This event aimed to highlight the critical role of corporate social responsibility for increased investment in early childhood, especially through the use of innovative financing and public/private partnerships.