The Overall Objective was to strengthen and create early childhood education and care services through community based initiatives (so called ‘ECCE committees’), in areas with high poverty and low enrollment of children in pre-school and primary school facilities, develop and gather support materials, train (para-)professionals, generate local support and awareness, liaise with local authorities, and establish and reinforce a network of ECCE minded people –policy makers, NGO staff, researchers and practitioners.
The project was very succesful: in 15 locations new ECCE facilities were set-up, and more than 2000 children aged 4-6 benefited from these.
Project activities took place in ten locations in the North Shoa zone of Amharic Regional State and in five locations in South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS)
The following results were achieved:
- Phase 1 was a participatory needs-assessment with the targeted communities (situation analysis).
- Phase 2 was setting up ECCE committees (with participation of all the relevant stakeholders in the communities).
- In Phase 3 local action plans/agendas were developed regarding care and education for young children (including attention to sustainability).
- Phase 4 (May 2012 to October 2014) implementation of a series of community based activities on care and education for young children took place. These included initiatives like establishing school-based and community based (outreach) preschool education centers, setting up playgrounds, establishment of mothers’ Self Help Groups (SHGs) and other ECCE activities.
- The final Phase 5, focused on review of the implemented activities with the communities and setting up of permanent activity plans (Action Agendas) for the care and education for young children in the targeted communities.
A really promising approach has been tested, where the community-based centres benefit from the resources and capacities of the school-based pre-schools and serve as their outreach posts, thus serving children from remote rural areas and disadvantaged backgrounds, children who otherwise would not benefit from pre-school services. The most promising aspect seems to be the replication of the project and the potential to build capacity of local partners and communities.
ICDI supported the Ethiopian partner organisation ESD in extending and implementing the project: we closely monitored the process of expansion and safeguarded a timely start-up in the new project locations. In the autumn of 2013 a training was given by ICDI on the benefits of formal and non-formal ECEC provisions and how to achieve synergy between the two. The training, which was attended by 30 staff members of local organizations, has increased the skills of these people to develop and implement good quality education and care services for young children.