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Empowering Change 
on the frontlines of health

Improving Early Childhood Development in Aswan

The Trust is partnering with the Aga Khan Development Network to support early childhood development programs to provide children with the best start in life, to nurture the development of young children so that they fulfil their potential.

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and the Trust established this Flagship Partnership program in Aswan, a neglected area in the South of Egypt, to promote Early Childhood Development (ECD).

With the political and economic unrest continuing in Egypt, the implementation of government run programs and public services has been adversely affected, leaving many vulnerable populations at risk of disease, poverty and destitution, particularly young children.

In 2013, a program was established in Aswan, a neglected area in the South of Egypt, to promote Early Childhood Development (ECD); increase nursing and midwifery resources; and strengthen community participation in health care development. The programme focused in building the capacity of teachers and other service providers; improving the quality of pre-schools; and developing the skills and capacities of families and local communities to improve educational experiences for children aged 0-8 years.

To date, the program has been operational in 14 pre-schools, six kindergartens and eight nurseries in Aswan and results have shown that access to ECD services has increased from 28% to 39% since the program began.

In addition to programs in Egypt, The Trust is partnering with the Aga Khan Foundation to ensure young children have the best start in life through ECD programmes operating in some countries in East Africa and in Portugal.

In East Africa, the Madrasa Early Childhood Program provides training to community councilors to give them the necessary tools and support to teachers to nurture the development young children and fulfil their potential.

In Portugal, they are raising the standards of the pre-school experience and learning opportunities to help the development of young children. To date, they have reached close to 8,000 caregivers and children, developed a childminders blended-learning training course and launched a moodle platform with online resource bank for Trainers and Childminders.

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The early years of childhood are critical in developmental growth and lay the foundations for a person’s future physical and mental health, their identity and their competencies. Research, including our own, has shown that ECD reduces prejudice and ethnic divisions in society; that it significantly increases the chances of children enrolling in primary school and scoring higher grades; and that, over the course of their lives, these children will be healthier and more productive individuals. In this way, investments in ECD deliver returns not only to the individual but also to society as a whole. Consequently, ECD is a powerful means to achieve poverty reduction and improvements to quality of life.

Nicholas McKinlay, Director of Civil Society, Aga Khan Foundation.

Women’s & Children’s Health

Healthy, empowered women and youth are at the center of strong families and the core of thriving communities with more productive economies and fewer people living in poverty.