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Early Childhood

ECD Evaluation

Conducting evaluations of current ECD programmes is critical to UNICEF's work in the field to ensure that intelligent investments are made in the most effective, efficient, and sustainable models of ECD interventions that ensure holistic child development for the most optimal results at the outcome level. This page provides an overview of some of the latest evaluations conducted by UNICEF and partners in the area of ECD. To obtain a more comprehensive list of all ECD evaluations conducted over the past several years, please visit the Evaluation and Research Database maintained by the Evaluation Office, which categorizes ECD evaluations by topic.

Latest ECD Evaluations Led by UNICEF and Partners

  • External Evaluation of UNICEF's ECD Programme

UNICEF completed its Government of Netherlands (GoN)-funded ECD Programme (2008-2011) along with an external evaluation, which is the first-ever comprehensive assessment of its magnitude on UNICEF’s ECD programmes globally. The evaluation was comprised of in-depth case studies of ECD programmes in four countries (Nepal, Cambodia, Ghana and Tanzania), an extensive document review, and a desk analysis of data from ten countries which had received the GoN funding. It also provided an opportunity to examine global and regional level efforts in support of ECD programmes around the world. The evaluation was conducted by a team of international consultants from Mathematica Policy Research and supported by national consultants in each of the four case study countries.
UNICEF‘s Evaluation Office collaborated closely with the ECD Unit in in the management of the evaluation, and was guided by an inter-divisional reference group that included representation from UNICEF regional offices. Visit the Evaluation Office homepage on ECD to read more details. Also read the Lessons Learned and the Way Forward, the Global Synthesis Report with Annex, and Executive Summary of the Report from this Evaluation. Findings from this Evaluation were shared with UNICEF staff and partners in a webinar in November 2011. You can view the related presentation here. You can also view a publication titled Real Life Stories from Around the World, which highlights ECD Programme stories from eight of the ten Dutch-funded countries. In February 2013 UNICEF's Programme Division and Evaluation Office gave a Management Response to the Evaluation at the UNICEF Executive Board.

  • PEDS Trial Evaluation Study

ECD Unit in New York supported the Aga Khan University Medical School in conducting an evaluation of the Pakistan Early Child Development Scale-up (PEDS) Trial. The PEDS Trial developed an ECD intervention package adapted from the UNICEF and WHO ‘Care for Child Development’ package and delivered it through community group meetings and home visits through the Lady Health Workers (LHWs) in district Naushero Feroze in the rural Sindh province.
The PEDS Trial evaluation study aims were to:

(1) determine if a Stimulation and Responsive Parenting Programme delivered by LHWs to children (0- 24months of age), alone or in combination with enhanced nutrition interventions, can improve development and growth outcomes;

(2) identify the effectiveness factors that promote successful integration of ECD interventions in the LHW programmes; and

(3) evaluate the cost of integrating an ECD strategy in the LHW programme.
1,489 children were recruited into one of 4 intervention groups: (1) Standard LHW services (Control); (2) ECD only; (3) Enhanced Nutrition; and

(4) ECD and Enhanced Nutrition. For in-depth outcome assessment, children were recruited at birth and followed until 24 months of age.

Early evidence from the trial has demonstrated that ECD and Nutrition interventions have independent benefits on development. However, interventions that combine ECD and Nutrition have greater overall developmental benefits. Moreover, disadvantaged children exposed to ECD had developmental scores which were better than or catch up with advantaged children with no exposure to ECD. The evaluation also revealed that group meetings enabled women to resolve problems together and share success stories around care-giving. You can access a relevant presentation here. The final report of this evaluation is being finalized and will be available shortly.



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