Early Childhood Development and HIV
Partnership with Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Adversity in the first five years of life, including exposure to HIV, can have lifelong, damaging effects on a child’s learning and behavior. 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) programs help children, with the help of their parents and communities, 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 to advocate for the importance of ECD, build capacity and convene and share evidence and knowledge on ECD, especially within the context of HIV-affected populations.
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UNICEF has been working with the governments of Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia to extend partnerships that bring ECD to communities most affected by HIV and AIDS.
Progress has been made by including early childhood development 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.
The field of ECD is experiencing dynamic growth and access to the science is compelling, but must be enhanced. In the years ahead, UNICEF aims to learn from lessons gathered in the first phase of the project, to further Advocate, Build Capacity and Circulate Evidence (ABC).