Children affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa will have a chance for a better start in life and a more promising future because of the educational initiative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. This new partnership, a joint venture between the two organizations, will train community leaders to help improve the odds for young children affected by HIV and AIDS. The first in a series of training courses was launched today in Nairobi, Kenya for the inaugural cohort of 25 participants.
The one-week Science of Early Child Development course will train partners and grantees of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation working in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia. This first short course is being offered by the Institute for Human Development at the Aga Khan University.
Young children affected by HIV and AIDS face extra obstacles to their development. They often do not receive consistent care, protection and opportunities for early learning, which leads to marked increases in malnutrition, morbidity, and mortality. This neglect inhibits healthy psychosocial and cognitive development. Yet it is still possible for these children to survive and thrive with programs that support them and their families.
The goal is to equip professionals in non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, and government institutions with high-quality skills, and to build institutional capacity that will improve the prospects for vulnerable young children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. Over the next three years, several short courses will take place in Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique in English, Kiswahili, and Portuguese. These will be complemented by a 13-week online certificate course offered annually. Developed with Red River College in Canada and the Aga Khan Foundation in Geneva, these courses comprise readings, video clips, websites and review activities linking current research to implications for practice on the ground.
The training is funded through a $1.5 million Hilton Foundation grant for the AKDN’s Advancing Institutions and Knowledge for Improved Early Human Development in Africa project. The Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. is providing $245,000, in addition to $30,000 from Aga Khan University.