ECD Networking in Africa

Most of the work presented at the various forums and at the Ghana meeting has been supported by the ECD Working Group of the Association for Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) in collaboration with other sponsors including UN agencies (UNICEF, UNESCO), several International non-governmental organizations (Save the children, Aga Khan Foundation to name but a few) and the World Bank.

Since 1998 when the Government of the Netherlands took over the coordination of the WG-ECD from UNICEF, it promoted collaboration and networking amongst the different players in ECD in Africa in order to enhance a more coherent approach at different levels, building on the experiences and existence of other networks in the region.

Over the past twelve to fifteen years, several attempts were made at developing Networks of professionals ECCE/D workers in Africa. The Early Childhood Development Network for Africa (ECDNA) took off in 1994 with the Calamar Declaration which sets out the role and function of such a network which was established with the support of eleven countries from the Eastern and Southern African region gathered in Mauritius to address integrated programming in ECCE/D within an EFA perspective. This Network was coordinated by a Secretariat based at the Institute of Education in Nairobi, Kenya, over the period 1995-1999. It operated with the support from several agencies – multilateral, bi-latesral and national –, carried out a series of events including contributing to the organization of Summer Institutes, workshops in Southern and Western Africa, translation of booklets, monitoring and evaluation exercises, consultations in several of its member countries. The Network supported an initiative  addressing HIV-AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa with four studies carried out in RSA, Namibia, Swaziland and Uganda which went on till 2005.

Over the period 1999-2004, the Early Childhood Development Virtual University (ECDVU) based at the University of Victoria, B.C., Canada, contributed to the development of a Network that regroups all those who followed the Summer Institutes over the period 1996-1999 and subsequently those who registered for the Masters degree course in Youth and Child Development completed a couple of years ago. It has been active with publication of papers, booklets, and sharing of information amongst its members. It is called upon to play an active role in the North/South-South/South collaborative program if and when it gets goingover the next two years.

Several other networks in Western Africa were developed with the assistance of the UNICEF Regional Office and support from UESCO-BREDA (Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and in Cameroun). Others have been active under the coordination of a French based NGO, the FICMEA, which over the past six years have conducted a series of training programs (“Methodes actives”) for professionals in the field of Young Child Development and Education in selected countries in Africa. The last training program was organized in Madagascar two years ago and it will be bringing together representatives from Indian Ocean countries next November in Antananarivo addressing Parents Empowerment.

ADEA Working group on early childhood development

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