Leading with Children

An Early Childhood Education Ethiopia Initiative

The first five years of life are foundational to human development. During these early formative years, children gain knowledge through cumulative experiences as they engage with others in their surroundings. Children at this stage of development depend on their caregivers such as fathers, mothers, grandparents, and other family members to nurture them, and respond to their social-emotional, physical, and cognitive needs while the environment plays an equal role in enhancing and translating these early experiences into short-longterm knowledge. Quality, caring, responsive, happy, and playful beginnings provide the framework for later life. 

But for many children in Ethiopia, their early start is challenged by social and environmental inequities.  The majority of children under five come from unserved or underserved communities. Early trauma and severe neglect during the early years create barriers to learning which is founded in meaningful relationships and trust with others. An unhealthy start for many children also means a lifelong struggle to become a successful and contributing member of the larger society. But as a country, we can change the trajectory of many children by investing holistically in their beginning. 

Early Childhood Education Ethiopia advocacy for the next five years is as follows:

Increase Social Services

Children need care and support during their early years. Increasing social services that provide assistance to both the child and the family is a critical first step. The concentration of such services should be prioritized first in rural areas and then cascade down to the cities.

Close the Equity Gap

Families that fall under the poverty line and those that come from the underserved community make up more than 75% of the population. Most live in rural or less industrialized areas around the country. Closing the gap is not increase one’s wealth but expands opportunities for financial growth, independence, and building a solid infrastructure for generational upward mobility. One way is through high-quality early childhood education programs.

Empower Parents

Early Childhood Education Ethiopia’s guiding principle #4 states, “We believe parents are navigational experts,  problem solvers, astute communicators, negotiators, and equal contributors to their children’s education”. We stand fully by this statement. As such, we should invite them to every table for input, to inform policy and co-direct practice. Integrating their voice as the driver for change should be collectively embraced. 

Strengthen Rural Communities     

  85% of Ethiopia’s population lives in rural areas. These communities offer a wealth of generational knowledge and cultural resources but the inclusion of who they are and what they bring has been absent from early education reforms. Early Childhood Education Ethiopia believes it is when we strengthen rural communities we gain measurable achievement in amplifying children’s agenda in Ethiopia. It is because of this foundational belief that Early Childhood Education Ethiopia is building the first community preschool in Debre Tabor, Ethiopia.

What Can You Do?

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Advocate: Amplify Children’s Agenda

Early Childhood Education Ethiopia