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Home arrow eBook Categories arrow Economics arrow Africa’s Future, Africa’s Challenge: Early Childhood Care and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa’s Future, Africa’s Challenge: Early Childhood Care and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

eBooks - Economics
June 12 2008

Africa’s Future, Africa’s Challenge: Early Childhood Care and Development in Sub-Saharan AfricaEarly childhood, from birth through school entry, was largely invisible worldwide as a policy concern for much of the twentieth century. Children, in the eyes of most countries, were “appendages” of their parents or simply embedded in the larger family structure. The child did not emerge as a separate social entity until school age (typically six or seven). Africa’s Future, Africa’s Challenge: Early Childhood Care and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa focuses on the 130 million children south of the Sahel in this 0–6 age group.

This book, the first of its kind, presents a balanced collection of articles written by African and non-African authors ranging from field practitioners to academicians and from members of government organizations to those of nongovernmental and local organizations.

Africa’s Future, Africa’s Challenge compiles the latest data and viewpoints on the state of Sub-Saharan Africa’s children. Topics covered include the rationale for investing in young children, policy trends in early childhood development (ECD), historical perspectives of ECD in Sub-Saharan Africa including indigenous approaches, new threats from HIV/AIDS, and the importance of fathers in children’s lives.

The book also addresses policy development and ECD implementation issues; presents the ECD programming experience in several countries, highlighting best practices and challenges; and evaluates the impact of ECD programs in a number of countries.

Alan Pence, Judith L. Evans, and Marito Garcia

Much is written about Africa today, and much of it is not hopeful. Daily, the world hears stories of disease, despair, and death. Such a litany of misery is not unfounded—but there are also stories of hope, promise, and potential. They too are a critically important part of the complex story of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in the first years of the 21st century. Just as multiple stories exist, so are multiple perspectives needed to understand, envision, and plan a hopeful future for Africa’s children.

This book seeks to achieve a balance, describing challenges that are being faced as well as developments that are underway. It seeks a balance in terms of the voices heard, including not just voices of the North commenting on the South, but voices from the South, and in concert with the North. It seeks to provide the voices of specialists and generalists, of those from international and local organizations, from academia and the field.

It seeks a diversity of views and values. Such diversity and complexity are the reality of Sub-Saharan Africa today. ...

Download Africa’s Future, Africa’s Challenge: Early Childhood Care and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

PDF format, 2.9MB, 558Pages.

Marito Garcia, Alan Pence, and Judith L. Evans, Editors

2008 The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank
1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
Telephone: 202-473-1000

Visit Africa’s Future, Africa’s Challenge Download Page


The launching of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2007 (EFA GMR 2007), in Dakar, Senegal, in November 2006, called on African countries “to expand and improve comprehensively early childhood care and development, especially for the most disadvantaged children.” Indeed, children are our future and investing in Africa’s young children is an investment in Africa’s future. This book contributes a wide perspective on how to address this challenge, with chapters written by African and other scholars and practitioners in the field.

Coverage of early childhood development programs remains very low in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially among children under 3. The EFA GMR 2007 indicates that Sub-Saharan Africa’s gross preprimary enrollment ratio of 12 percent (compared with 48 percent for all other developing regions worldwide) is contributing to low primary completion and poor performance in primary grades. Early learning experiences help young children transition to primary school and make it more likely that they begin and complete primary school. By reducing dropout rates, repetition, and special education placements, early childhood development programs can improve the efficiency of primary education and reduce the costs for governments and households.

Recent trends have increased the need for early childhood development policies and programs. Today, the challenge is to provide good beginnings for the 130 million children under 6 in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Urbanization, with attendant changes in household structures, has reduced the role of extended family members as caregivers. The growing number of working mothers with young children has increased the demand for nonparental child care. This demand is further exacerbated by the newest challenge, which is the rising number of orphans—now totaling 12 million—from the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Malnutrition of children under 5 in Africa has increased in the last 10 years: 75 million of these children are chronically malnourished and stunted. Iodine deficiency disorders have been found to reduce the IQs of school children by 13 points; anemia causes many pupils to achieve less than their potential. These factors lead to later enrollment and reduce primary school completion rates.

This book draws from views of authors and watchers of African trends. It presents the case for investment in early childhood development based on new findings from neuroscience. Trends in early childhood development from sociohistorical perspectives—including the new threats to early childhood such as HIV/AIDS, the challenges of caring for children under 3, and the role of African fathers—are presented to provide the context of how households, communities, and the public sector care for Africa’s children. Similarly, comparative studies on how various countries are addressing early childhood development policy indicate a variety of approaches including participatory early childhood development planning and community-based approaches that work. This book includes several results of evaluations of the impact of programs designed to promote children’s care and development in various countries. As ways forward, this book also describes financing of early childhood programs and the approaches being taken toward capacity building and knowledge dissemination.

The Communiqué from the Third African Early Childhood Development Conference in Accra, Ghana, in June 2005, called upon the African Commission and Secretariats of the subregional bodies of ECOWAS, COMESA, SADC, and the NEPAD to promote and support holistic development and lifesaving interventions for all infants and young children, starting with the most vulnerable. It also called on the heads of states and governments of the African Union and of the regional bodies of ECOWAS, COMESA, and SADC to make the development of infants and young children an urgent priority. This book reiterates that message and offers pathways for investing in Africa’s children to develop strong beginnings for a brighter future.

Yaw Ansu
Director, Human Development Department
Africa Region
The World Bank


Madeez Adamu-Issah is an Education Project Officer for UNICEF in Ghana.
Agnes Akosua Aidoo is a member of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Geneva, Switzerland.
Harold Alderman is the Adviser for Social Protection for the World Bank’s Africa Region.
Linda Biersteker is Head of Research at the Early Learning Resource Unit in Cape Town, South Africa.
Joseph Kwasi Ayim Boakye is an early childhood development consultant in Ghana.
Cecilia Cabañero-Verzosa is the unit head for knowledge and capacity building in the World Bank’s Development Communication Division.
Francis R. W. Chalamanda is the National Coordinator for ECD at the Ministry of Women and Child Development in Malawi.
Gilberte Chung Kim Chung is Director of the Bureau de l’Education Catholique (BEC), Mauritius.
Cyril Dalais is a consultant and adviser on child protection and child development for the Ministry of Education and Human Resources in Mauritius.
Erika Dunkelberg is a member of the Early Child Development Team for the World Bank’s Human Development Network for Children and Youth.
Nawsheen Elaheebocus works in the World Bank’s Development Communication Division.
Patrice L. Engle is a professor at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, United States.

Stella Etse is a consultant and Coordinator for the Association for the Development of Education in Africa’s Working Group on Early Child Development. She is based in Ghana.
Judith L. Evans is Director Emeritus for the Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development and Adjunct Professor, School of Child and Youth Care, Faculty of Human and Social Development, University of Victoria, Canada.
Jodie Fonseca is an education and HIV/AIDS adviser for Save the Children USA.
Marito Garcia is a lead human development economist at the World Bank’s Human Development Department, Africa Region.
Elena Glinskaya is a Senior Economist for the World Bank’s Economic Policy and Poverty Reduction Department, South Asia Region.
Sarah Gudyanga is a consultant on life skills and early childhood in Zimbabwe.
Abeba Habtom is Head of the ECCE and Special Needs Unit for the Ministry of Education in Eritrea.
Shireen Issa is a consultant for UNICEF.
Adriana Jaramillo is Senior Education Specialist for human development for the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Region.
Jessica Jitta is director of the Child Health and Development Center at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.
Gareth Jones is a statistician for Adeni Consulting in Ottawa, Canada.
Margaret Kabiru is a consultant and Director of the Mwana Mwende ECDE Training Center in Kenya.
Michael M. Lokshin is a Senior Economist for the World Bank’s Development Research Group.
Jane E. Lucas is a consultant in child health and development.
Kofi Marfo is Professor of Educational Psychology and Director of the Center for Research on Children’s Development and Learning at the University of South Florida in the United States.
Juditha Leketo Matjila is a Communication Officer for UNICEF in Namibia.
Chalizamudzi Elizabeth Matola is an Assistant Project Officer for UNICEF’s program on Orphans and Vulnerable Children and Child Protection in Malawi.

Alain Mingat is Director of Research at CNRS, IREDU, and University of Burgundy in France.
Bishara T. Mohamed is technical adviser for Radio Instruction to Strengthen Education in Tanzania/Zanzibar, formerly Director of the Madrasa Resource Center in East Africa.
Carlinda Monteiro is the deputy director of the Christian Children’s Fund in Angola.
Robert Morrell is a professor at the School of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.
Medha Devi Moti is an education consultant and former Chief Technical Officer of the Ministry of Education in Mauritius.
Fraser Mustard is the founding President and a Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
Peter Mwaura is lead researcher of the Madrasa Regional Research Program for the Madrasa Resource Center in East Africa.
Samuel Ngaruiya is a Senior Education Officer for ECD at the Ministry of Education in Kenya.
Anne Njenga is a consultant and Training and Research Coordinator for the Mwana Mwende ECDE Centre in Kenya.
A. Bame Nsamenang is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Counseling at the University of Yaounde I in Cameroon.
Jolly P. T. Nyeko is the founder and Chairperson of Action for Children in Uganda.
Chloe O’Gara is Associate Vice President and Director of Education for Save the Children USA.
Alan Pence is the Director of the Early Childhood Development Virtual University and Professor, School of Child and Youth Care, Faculty of Human and Social Development, University of Victoria, Canada.
Larry Prochner is an Associate Professor of Elementary Education at the University of Alberta in Canada.
Linda M. Richter is Executive Director for Child,Youth, Family, and Social Development at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa.
Jenieri Sagnia is an Education Project Officer for UNICEF’s Basic Services Program in The Gambia.
Edith Sebatane is an Inspector at the Ministry of Education and Training in Lesotho.

Shamani-Jeffrey Shikwambi is a Program Coordinator at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the United States.
Linda Sussman is a consultant on HIV/AIDS prevention and care.
Elizabeth Swadener is Chair and Professor of Early Childhood Education, and a Professor of Policy Studies at Arizona State University in the United States.
Emily Vargas-Barón is Director of the Institute for Reconstruction and International Security through Education in Washington, DC.
Gillian Virata is a consultant in early childhood development for the World Bank.
Patrick Wachira is an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education and Mathematics at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, the United States.
Michael Wessells is a senior adviser on child protection for the Christian Children’s Fund, and professor of clinical population and family health at Columbia University, New York, the United States.
Katarzyna Wilczynska-Ketende is a consultant in international child health, an honorary research fellow at the Institute of Child Health, and consultant project coordinator for the Interagency Group on Breastfeeding Monitoring (IGBM)/UNICEF UK in London.
John Williamson is a senior technical adviser for USAID’s Displaced Children and Orphans Fund.
Mary Eming Young is lead specialist of the World Bank’s Early Child Development Team, Human Development Network for Children and Youth.

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Last Updated ( June 12 2008 )
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