Theme: Laying down a Firm Foundation for Children’s’ Development and Learning”
- The Overall Goal of the Programme is to ensure that “Children’s Holistic Development (Cognitive/Mental, Physical, Social, Emotional/Psychological and Language development) in the first 8 years of their lives is enhanced through access to adequate, quality and sustainable ECCDE services in the targeted counties.
- GRADIF-Kenya recognizes the role played by Early Child Hood Care, Development and Education (ECCDE) Programme in the development of the families, community and the Nation at large.
- The first five years of Life are very critical for positive child development and deserves more attention than they have received in the past. They are responsible for the formation of intelligence, personality and social behaviour. For instance, brain cells are formed during the first 2 years of life and studies have shown that structure and organization of the neural paths in the brains is affected by sensory stimulation from the environment where a child is born and brought up. Therefore, early motor and sensory experiences influences later abilities in life.
- Early Childhood Care, Development and Education (ECCDE) programs are designed to address the holistic developmental needs of children from conception to eight (8) years of age. Child rearing practises must therefore provide a conducive environment in which the development of children can be enhanced. Quality Holistic development programs support the healthy, physical, social, cognitive, emotional, moral and spiritual key aspects of quality child development. Language development also takes place during the formative years as evidenced by the fact that some children with delayed language development open up in the first few months after joining ECCDE centres.
- Studies have revealed that Early Childhood Development and Education (ECCDE) programs have lasting impact on the long-term success of a of a child in terms of his/her education, health, social development and self-esteem. Studies have further shown that children participating in ECCDE programmes are likely to continue with school programmes up to advanced levels. They register better performance than children who never enrol, participate and successfully complete ECCDE Programmes. Studies have also revealed that children who go through ECCDE programmes have a smooth and easier transition to standard one, fit easily in primary schools and perform better. Chances of completing primary school are higher than for children who have not gone through the ECCDE Programme. Due to better early care and adequate stimulation, their Intelligence Quotient (1Q) is higher making them perform well in all areas. Such children grow into productive citizens in their communities and contribute through participation in various sectors in National development.
GRADIF-K Investments in ECCE Project:
GRADIF-K implements ECCDE as an integral part of community development Initiatives. We back this project and its approaches on an African Proverb that says “It takes a village to raise a child!” It is widely held that a Child’s wellbeing depends on the efforts of the entire community. This means that sustainable ECCDE initiatives should involve all members of the community. GRADIF-K believes that it is only through integrated quality ECCDE services that children are able to enjoy their rights as enshrined in the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). GRADIF-K invests in ECCDE considering the current and future benefits to both the child, family, community and the nation at large. Working closely with other duty bearers, GRADIF-K directs all efforts towards promotion of the Holistic Child Development (HCD).
RATIONALE BEHIND GRADIF-K ECCDE PROGRAMME
- Quality ECCDE Programme is a key strategy in poverty reduction initiatives.
- To address the ECCDE gaps that continue to be identified during the implementation of other GRADIF-K’s Programs.
- High poverty levels among community members. Parents are not able to provide basic needs for their children as this is overtaken by many other competing priorities.
- High level of Ignorance among the targeted community members on the importance of ECCDE Programme for their children’s development
- Low enrolment of children in formal ECCDE Programme centers by gender. The enrolment of males in ECCDE centers in some counties stand at 45 % and that of females is at 38%.
- Lack of systematic support and programme’s services for children 0-4 year olds, their parents and care givers to support their survival and holistic development.
- Inadequate capacities among ECCDE key duty bearers and stakeholders including teachers, care givers, ‘Centre Management committees among others. This compromises quality services provision and effective management of the centers.
- Poor ECCDE infrastructure and lack of model centers from where communities can learn appropriate equipment and services for children of various age categories.
- Discrimination, abuse and inadequate support for children with various forms of disabilities. No reliable documentation is in place for evidence based advocacy.
- Fewer organizations supporting ECCDE work in the targeted regions. Most of them do not apply Age-Appropriate service provision strategy.
- There are few organizations making deliberate effort to sensitize, mobilize and support communities to promote organized community philanthropy, local resource mobilization and assets building.
- Poor and uncoordinated actors through networks to support ECCDE Programme work, thus making it difficult to form a united force to strengthen the advocacy voice on the rights of the child, to monitor and demand for timely and quality services from the County Governments bearing that ECCDE is a devolved function of the County Governments.
- High incidences of HIV/AIDS scourge which is wreaking havoc in Early Childhood Development and Education (ECCDE). Currently the County HIV prevalence rate in some counties stand at 3.7 % compared to 4.2% national rate with Men at 2.2% and Women at 5.0%. Many children are either orphaned at very early ages or have sick parents who cannot adequately carter for their developmental needs.
- Inadequate budget allocation to ECCDE department by County Governments and slow implementation of the planned activities like infrastructure development and employment of ECCDE teachers
- Long distances to nearest ECDE Centers and Health centres especially in some targeted counties especially in Mbeere North Sub-County.
- Increased incidences of violence both at home and at the community level due to retrogressive social cultural practices and stresses of modern life. This is impacting negatively on the physical, social and emotional and psychological wellbeing of the children.
- There are no deliberate efforts to prepare children for smooth and successful transition to Grade one and proceed smoothly with higher primary school programme.
ECDE Project Objectives
The programme specifically aims to achieve the following objectives,
- Enhance the capacities of mothers, fathers and care givers to strengthen interventions for Children 0-4 years.
- Contribute to formation and strengthening of ECCDE Networks for effective Advocacy for quality and timely services to children 0-8 years in various counties.
- Facilitate the establishment of new community structures and local networks and strengthen the already existing structures for effectiveness and sustainability of ECCDE Programme in targeted Sub-Counties.
Key activities to be undertaken:
- Community mobilization and sensitization on the importance of ECCDE Programme for their Children. This contributes to increased enrolments in ECCDE Centers and quality service provision to children 0-8 years.
- Undertaking of ECCDE Baseline survey exercises to establish the statuses of the ECCDE Programme in the targeted regions and to lay down the bench marks on which the projects progress and impacts shall be measured.
- Needs assessment and capacity building for various stake holders and duty bearers on various topics
- Enhancing the capacities of mothers, fathers and care givers to strengthen interventions for Children 0-3 years.
- Formation and capacity strengthening of County ECCDE Networks and ensuring linkage with National and regional networks.
- Putting in place appropriate measures to support the sustainability of ECCDE Programme
- Working with other duty bearers and stakeholders to [promote Holistic Child Development.
- Managing ECCDE Porgramme Learning through effective monitoring, evaluations and documentation of success stories and case studies.
- Promoting ICT in ECCDE Programme.
KEY ECDE COLLABORATORS:
Parents of children 0-8 years, Local communities, ECCDE Centres, Primary schools, County Governments departments e.g. Early Childhood Development (ECD), Health’s, Children, Gender and Social services, Community Health Volunteers (CHVs), Various community development groups, Faith Based Organizations, Development Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, Farmers Organizations, Business community/Private sector, Universities and colleges among others.