Adversity in the first five years of life, including exposure to HIV, can have lifelong, damaging effects on a child’s learning and behaviour. Understanding the critical importance of early life and communicating it to policy makers, practitioners and caregivers are key to improving the lives of children, especially those who are born into adversity.
Early childhood development (ECD) programmes help children learn and grow during the crucial early years of life. With support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, UNICEF is working with governments and local partners in Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia to advocate for the importance of ECD and to build capacity and convene and share evidence and knowledge on ECD, especially within the context of HIV-affected populations.
Progress has been made by including ECD in national policies on education where none existed before. Local leaders have compelling evidence in hand to help with decision making and prioritization of ECD policies, especially within the context of HIV. This project has also contributed to training thousands of caregivers and educators in the three countries.