Start early, multiply the benefits
The World Bank has published the findings of its study of Save the Children’s Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) interventions in Mozambique.
The study shows the great potential of ECCD for improving children’s health and learning across Africa. In particular, it found that:
- children who attended Save the Children preschool programmes were 24% more likely to enrol in primary school.
- children who attended the programme were significantly better equipped to learn than children who didn’t.
- children who go the centres are much more likely to show interest in mathematics and writing, recognise shapes, and show respect for other children, than those who don’t.
- parents of children attending ECCD centres have a 26% higher chance of engaging in employment and older school siblings are able to go to school because younger children are cared for at the centres.
Setting up ECCD centres in poor and remote areas has a direct impact on children’s experience immediately and also later on in life.
ECCD interventions tackle poor health and nutrition, protection of children, and will ensure children develop their cognitive skills that will enable them to learn later on in life.
By providing an equal start for all children from the early years, governments can build stronger foundations for children and their communities.
This means they invest at the right time,; rather than doubling their investment later on to address the problems of children dropping out of school or not atending.
How do you multiply the benefits?
This is the first evaluation of ECCD programs in Africa (and one of the few that exist for low income countries globally).
The results will give governments and education Ministries evidence to scale-up early interventions and advocate for greater financing for ECCD in their national agendas.