Local governance


Child and gender sensitive planning

Child protection

Community preschools

Maternal and child health

Clean water and sanitation


Disability inclusive development – NEW!


Community preschools

Supporting local authorities
© UNICEF Cambodia/Nicolas Axelrod

International research shows that access to preschool improves a child’s developmental readiness for school. Yet, less than 20 per cent of Cambodian children aged three to five benefit from early childhood development programmes. The government's Education for All target aims to see 50 per cent of children in this age group having access to preschool programmes by 2015.

Preliminary results from a study carried out by Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and UNICEF (2007-2010) show that exposure to early learning has positive effects on a child’s education, particularly in terms of right age entry to primary schooling.

UNICEF works with the government at the local level to develop and improve capacity to implement, monitor and coordinate interventions related to community preschools, whilst working at the national level to ensure vital technical support. UNICEF encourages an increasing role and contribution by Commune Councils and communities in financing and managing community preschools, working towards the objective that the preschools would eventually become fully sustained by the communes.

What we do

  • Continue to support Commune Councils, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to establish and manage community preschools in order to expose more children aged three to five to activities that stimulate their learning and better prepare them for primary education.
  • Support Commune Councils to identify and contract local volunteers to be preschool teachers, organize preschool classes, and monitor these activities.
  • Support the Ministry of Education to develop training and teaching curricula, lead technical training for volunteer educators, provide initial teaching and learning materials and monitor classes.
  • Support the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to raise awarenessof the importance of preschools among parents and community leaders and monitor implementation.
  • Advocate for provincial and district Councils and Boards of Governors to support Commune Councils to plan and budget for community preschools in villages.
  • Document experiences and lessons learnt to influence policy development at the national level.



 Email this article

unite for children