This project ran from 2007 to 2010. More than 700 underprivileged children, their families and communities benefited from community-based initiatives providing access to alternative forms of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services.
Local stakeholders, including local administrations, provided additional resources to all 16 initiatives, despite the fact that the initiatives took place in the height of the financial crisis and that such a support was not foreseen.
The project also contributed to the capacity of the civil sector at the five project locations since for almost all of the counterparts there these initiatives were their first experience in designing, running and accounting for a project. A book with lessons learnt and a compendium of good practices was presented at the final conference; we are happy to report that only a couple of months later lecturers from Belgrade University started using our publication in their work with students – future preschool teachers. Next to these tangible outcomes it is the satisfaction and the enthusiasm expressed by our Serbian partners, including by the Serbian Ministry of Education that gives the conviction that the project was successful.
The high-point of the project period was without any doubt the implementation of the ECEC initiatives, the mini-projects. These proved to be inspirational community-based interventions built-up on the trainings and awareness raising activities that took place earlier in the project. All participants felt that they were ‘practicing what was preached’ and that ECEC became part of the local social and political agendas.