It takes a Community to raise a Child: Systemic Support to Early Childhood Care and Development in Namibia
LifeLine/ChildLine has received funding from the Roger Federer Foundation to carry out Early Childhood Development (ECD) activities in the Khomas and Hardap regions for the next three years (January 2015 - December 2017).
ECD in Namibia is still in its early stages, with centres often being run as private income-generating entities and many of them lacking minimum standards with regard to aspects around nutrition, health, safety, active learning support as well as parental and community involvement. In addition, the awareness and understanding of holistic child development is poorly developed, leaving key aspects of care, development, education, safety and protection still to be addressed.
The project aims to contribute to the current national efforts to improve the lives of children through provision of universal, quality early childhood education as well as holistic and integrated strategies to improve child protection, nutrition and health.
- Capacities of ECD center staff and volunteers to provide child-centred care, learning and support as a foundation for quality early childhood education are enhanced.
- Quality of ECD centres' services are improved to reach the Namibian Standards for ECD, as set out by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, and beyond.
- Model ECD Centres have developed, which excel in one or more identified key areas and have the capacity to provide support to other ECD centres in those areas of excellence.
- Interaction between parents and ECD centres is increased, parents are involved in creating an enabling environment for children to thrive.
- Communities have a greater understanding of and commitment to children, parents, and the value and importance of Early Childhood Development.
- Collaboration and networking around ECD among stakeholders (including training institutions) at community and national level is stimulated and further developed.
- 5,600 children not only have access to and experience holistic and quality early childhood care, development and education, and are safer, healthier and more resilient.
- About 100 ECD centres in Khomas and Hardap Region and at least 200 ECD caregivers (staff/volunteers) have benefited from continuous ECD training, individual support, mentoring and group supervision.
- Each of these centres has also developed their own individualised Care, Safety, and Sustainability Plans as a helpful tool for further development and a more integrated and collaborative approach to ECD.
- Need-based material support is provided to ECD centres to enable them to reach National ECD standards, and in combination with above mentioned support, even go beyond these standards.
- At least 12 Model ECD Centres, based on specific areas of excellence, their capacity to demonstrate achievable standards and a more systemic approach, and their potential to demonstrate best practices and lessons learned for the future of ECD in Namibia.
- Participating community members and key decision makers/leaders will have increased knowledge and a better understanding and perceptions of the importance of ECD and awareness of both child development and healthy adult child relationships.
- In addition, 2,800 parents will have participated in positive parenting courses and gained even deeper understanding and practical skills around children's developmental needs, how to support their readiness for life, and how to communicate and interact with them. Through this parents are also less likely to use corporal punishment on their children, and more likely to act in partnership with ECD Centre staff in ensuring a better start in life for their children.
- National capacities and networks have been strengthened through exchange of ideas/experiences/lessons-learned, and the development of new collaborative ECD strategies for Namibia.