The Aga Khan University Institute for Human Development (IHD) together with the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust and other partners are lobbying for increased investments in Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Kenya’s lake region.
In Kenya, county governments and other stakeholders have made great strides in the development of policy frameworks targeting ECD. However, gaps still exist especially in workforce development. Additionally, inadequate financing continues to affect access to quality, affordable, equitable and relevant ECD services to children and their families across the country.
Through a series of ECD policymakers’ workshops held for county executive committee members (CECMs) from the Lake Region Economic Bloc, policymakers were sensitized on how to make critical investments in ECD in their counties to ensure that children thrive. The workshops also sought to deepen the policymakers' understanding of the Science of Early Childhood Development (SECD).
Speaking during the event ECD Hub Manager, Joyce Marangu, said, "Investment in ECD is critical in addressing many of the challenges facing developing countries. It enhances long-term educational success, improved health and the overall wellbeing of children and families.”
Global ECD Technical Advisor and workshop facilitator Everlyne Okeyo touched on the rewards of investing in quality health care for children stating that long-term investment in health leads to better outcomes. "I believe in the immense value of investing in ECD. The immediate benefit is quality care and ultimately, we are looking at a healthy nation in terms of health and education outcomes."
The Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) comprises Busia, Siaya, Kakamega, Nyamira, Kisumu, Vihiga and Homa Bay counties. The CECM’s representing the region were drawn from multiple sectors including health, finance, education, agriculture, environment, trade, gender, and social development.
Kakamega County CECM for Finance and Economic Planning, Livingstone Imbayi in his remarks stated that among his key takeaways from the workshop, investing in ECD and supporting initiatives geared towards ECD to guarantee a future for children was vital. He said, “Early childhood development is important for the future success of any generation. This calls for serious planning and adequate resource allocation towards programmes adapted for ECD initiatives. A strong foundation for a child will enable the child to overcome many hurdles in his or her future life as an adult."
The workshops also provided an opportunity for counties from the Lake Region Economic Bloc to enhance collaborations that amplify positive outcomes for ECD. It is one of the courses under IHD's ECD workforce hub that aims to advance the well-being of children and families.