Comprehensive policy needed to advance Early Childhood Dev’t implementation

Social Eccd Revision
Social Eccd Revision

Dr Afisah Zakariah, Chief Director, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has underscored the need for a comprehensive and viable policy to advance Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD).

Such policy, she noted, would specify national priorities, improve investment and monitoring within the sector.
Dr Zakariah was speaking at a zonal consultation workshop on the draft revised ECCD Policy Framework organised by the Gender Ministry in Accra.

The workshop was to engage and solicit inputs from stakeholders directly involved in the implementation of the Policy at the regional and district levels, to facilitate its revision.

Participants were drawn from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Non-Governmental, Faith-based and Civil Society Organisations.

Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) is the timely provision of a range of services that promotes the survival, growth, development, and protection of young children between the ages of zero and eight.
The review of the policy was a key recommendation of an evaluation conducted in 2020.

Dr Zakariah noted that though the country had made remarkable strides in the ECCD arena, new developments in the sector necessitated an operative policy to effectively address current ECCD needs.

Thus, the revision of the policy is to align it with global and national ECCD priorities, and to address gaps in its implementation over the years.

The Chief Director pointed out that a highly participatory approach and extensive consultations were adopted and carried out at all levels for the policy review process.

“A notable achievement in this process has been the involvement of children in the consultations for which we appreciate Children Believe for their support,” she said.

She urged all stakeholders to continually support the course by integrating ECCD issues into their plans and programmes and to promote inter-agency collaboration for ECCD implementation at all levels.

Dr Zakariah also called on stakeholders to promote positive caregiving behaviours to ensure the optimal development of children in their early years and support for adolescent mothers.

She announced that the “I WILL” campaign, an integrated social and behaviour change programme on ECCD that required mainstreaming into existing programmes for effective implementation would be launched within the next few months.
“Let us continue to work together and ensure that ECCD remains a priority on the national agenda,” she said.

Mr Terrance Beney, ‘Clear Outcomes’ Lead Consultant of the ECCD Policy said inputs from engagements and the policy evaluation, were used in the drafting of the revised policy and its attached documents.

He said nurturing care domains for the country’s ECCD Policy comprised of health, nutrition, early learning, child protection and social welfare, responsive caregiving, and inclusion.

Mr Beney noted that although the country had progressed in childcare, those efforts must be complemented with a better understanding of ECCD issues for enhanced development of children in the country.

He underscored the need for adequate resources for, and effective collaboration amongst all sectors of the economy to address ECCD issues.

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