The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) has held a zonal consultation workshop to engage stakeholders on the draft revised Early Childhood Care and Development Policy (ECCD).
The workshop was to seek the input of people, who were directly involved in the ECCD policy implementation at the regional and district levels, to facilitate the revision of the policy.
It brought together stakeholders from various departments including social welfare, education, National Health Insurance Authority and Non-Governmental Organizations in children related fields, within the five regions of the north.
It also served as a platform for participants to contribute their knowledge of local conditions to strengthen the validity of the emerging ECCD policy, its applicability in practice and prospect for successful outcomes.
Mr Terence Beney, Clear Outcomes Consultant of the ECCD policy, during a presentation on the overview of the policy review process in Tamale, said an evaluation commissioned by MoGCSP with support from UNICEF in 2019 realised that the ECCD policy needed to be revised.
He said even though there were notable achievements in health, nutrition and pre-primary education, the visibility and priority given to the policy as an integrated effort had diminished.
He noted that the evaluation found the absence of an organising framework for integrated ECCD, lack of coordinated implementation and inadequate resourcing among other shortcomings.
Mr Beney said this informed the decision to revise the policy with the need to restore “Momentum to the multi-sectoral approach.”
The MoGCSP began the revision of the policy in 2021 with a team to restore a holistic and coordinated approach to the policy.
The review process involved five phases, which were the policy road map, technical workshops, policy framework production, validation workshops and submission of review draft between November 2021 and July 2022.
These steps formed part of the agenda to review the ECCD framework, address its evaluation findings and recommendation and to align it with the aspirations of the citizenry and the policy environment.
Dr Afisah Zakariah, Chief Director, MoGCSP said it was imperative to have a comprehensive and viable policy in place to advance ECCD implementation to specify national priorities and improve investment and monitoring within the sector.
She said: “New developments in the sector necessitated an operative policy to effectively address current ECCD need, hence, the urgency for developing a revised policy, which aligns with global and national priorities.”
She noted that a highly participatory approach had been adopted for the policy review process and extensive consultations were being carried out at all levels to obtain varied input.
Mr Sanday Iddrisu, Northern Regional Director of the Department of Children urged religious leaders to harness the importance of parents to give children the needed care and attention at every level to support efforts to intensify ECCD.
He stated that children at various stages in life needed specific attention emphasising the need to give them care at every stage as children.
Mr William Anim-Dankwa, Communications Manager of Children Believe, said the organisation would give the policy the needed support in its implementation as it had always done.
Mr Emmanuel Nyarko-Tetteh, a Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF Ghana, also pledged support saying, “As UNICEF, we remain steadfast in our commitment to increasing young children’s access to quality services that will improve their health, nutrition and well-being.”