For every child, a solid foundation in life

How UNICEF USA is supporting early childhood development programmes in Darfur, Sudan

Hadeel Agab Ashii
Children in Class
04 August 2021

Early childhood is considered as the most critical period in a child’s life, as it is the period during which the child’s brain begins to grow and develop. To provide children with a solid foundation in life and prepare them for school, interventions should start in early childhood.

Children who are exposed to conflict, as the most recent conflicts in the areas in Darfur, Sudan, are likely to experience trauma and psychosocial challenges which can result in long-lasting impacts on their brain development, growth, and long-term productivity.

Targeting the South Sudanese refugees children in North and East Darfur; The ‘Learning for Life: Early Childhood Development and Education for Displaced Children’ project works to expand refugee children’s access to quality early childhood development and education and to improve quality education in emergencies at all levels. Also, supporting the Out of School Children through non-formal education (ALP; alternative learning programme).

Alhijra School

Increased access to early childhood development and education services

In collaboration with its partners, UNICEF supported access of 426 (137 in North Darfur, 289 in East Darfur) children to safe and quality early childhood education services, and 1,144 (214 in North Darfur, 930 in East Darfur) children were enrolled in accelerated learning education (ALP). Accessing to safe and quality primary education was supported also where 1,135 (592 in North Darfur, 543 in East Darfur) children were enrolled in targeted localities in both states.

Community sensitization and awareness raising

Jointly with the unicef C4D and supported by SMoE and line ministries in both States; 17 awareness raising campaigns were launched in North Darfur to parents and communities on the importance of early childhood education and the registration of out-of-school children taking with COVID-19 prevention measures. while in East Darfur, enrolment campaigns were conducted considering COVID-19 prevention measures, using radio messages to increase awareness on registration of out-of-school children as well as door-to-door awareness raising, education supplies and school uniform for 420 children were also distributed during the campaigns.

Quality education

Improved quality of Early Childhood Development (ECD) and education programmes helps vulnerable children access more opportunities in life.

Teaching and learning materials such as early childhood development kits, teacher kits, Arabic student kits for the ALP programme, blackboards, ALP curriculum books and seating for early childhood education centres were procured and will be distributed to 1,919 (989 in North Darfur, 930 in East Darfur) children at the start of the new school year.

Construction and rehabilitation of classrooms

UNICEF supported the construction of childhood and rehabilitation of five ECD centers (ND 2, ED3) Also, seven ALP centers (ND4, ED3) were targeted through construction and rehabilitation work benefitting 1,630 children including South Sudanese refugee children.


UNICEF Sudan would like to express its heartfelt appreciation for the generous contribution to the United States Fund for UNICEF through the Latter-Day Saint Charities for the Learning for Life project. This partnership allows UNICEF to support South Sudanese refugees as well as the most vulnerable girls and boys in the host communities in the Darfur region. Without this contribution, UNICEF would not be able to achieve the major milestones and longer-term sustainable gains that improve the provision of quality early childhood education.