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Zambia: Early childhood development in focus

Symposium examines ECD experiences in Eastern and Southern Africa

LUSAKA, 18 August 2008 – More than 100 researchers, practitioners, and experts on Early Childhood Development (ECD) will gather in Livingstone this week to participate in a symposium on the ECD experience in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The Ministry of Education, UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and other partners will host the ECD symposium from 20-22 August at the New Fairmount Hotel. This “up stream” policy event will address a variety of ECD fields, including child care, development, and education.

“For nearly half the world’s children – especially girls and those from marginalized populations – early childhood education is not guaranteed. This is despite the fact that early childhood is the most significant period of development in our lives, establishing the cognitive, emotional, and social foundation upon which we build our futures,” said UNICEF Zambia Representative Lotta Sylwander. “By getting children ready for school, we arm them with the tools necessary to build fulfilling lives, become productive citizens, and take their place in the global community.

“This symposium is vitally important as the more than 100 Zambian and international experts will examine ECD best practices that can be implemented not only in Zambia, but globally,” said Sylwander. “UNICEF has a strong partnership with the Ministry of Education in striving towards providing every Zambian child with care, development, and education while they are still very young. UNICEF is also pleased to be working in close collaboration with NGO and CBO partners in supporting the numerous early childhood care development and education centres (ECCDE) that are caring for Zambia’s youngest children.”

Scholarly papers will be presented at the symposium on a number of areas including early childhood curriculum and policy implementation; parenting; child protection and counseling; children’s rights; children and HIV; and management of early childhood illnesses. Other themes will address ECD opportunities and challenges and the role of ECD in poverty reduction.

“After the symposium, we are expecting increased opportunities for investment in ECD by national governments and also increased knowledge in early childhood care and development education provision in the region,” said Michael Banda, UNICEF Zambia’s Education Specialist ECCDE. “We also expect to launch the Southern African Regional Early Childhood Development Forum. Finally, symposium proceedings will be published for a wider national and regional audience.”

The symposium will be officially opened on Wednesday, 20 August by the Minister of Education, Hon. Prof. Geoffrey Lungwangwa (MP), and UNICEF’s Country Representative, Lotta Sylwander.

About UNICEF:
UNICEF works in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.


For further information, please contact:

Patrick Slavin, Chief of Communications, at 260-1-252055, pslavin@unicef.org,  or James Simasiku, Communication for Development Specialist, 260-1-252055 jsimasiku@unicef.org


 

 

 

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