This Re&Act-UNICEF collaboration builds on an ECD pilot programme started in 2016, where UNICEF implemented a parental education package in 700 communities in five Nepalese districts.
Early Childhood Development (ECD) services are weak in Nepal and children are still facing challenges to reach their full potential. Although ECD services are accessible to 83% of children, only 36% of ECD centers have adequate classroom space. In addition, parents and caregivers who are aware of the importance of providing young children nurturing care and protection to reach their developmental potential cannot always provide it, due to financial limitations, illiteracy and limited access to health services.
To guarantee the sustainability of the project, UNICEF also ensures that the communities have the capacity to improve the quality of ECD themselves as well as work with their local authorities to support access to quality ECD.
The project goal to reach 20,000 children up to age five in the Nepalese districts of Achham, Bajura, Kalikot, Mugu, and Mahottar, by 2020, has been surpassed. This is a silver lining of taking a more digital approach due to Covid-19.
Training: 49,454 parents and caregivers have registered and attended parental education sessions benefitting 48,569 children.
Fairs: 5 municipalities conducted a parental fair reaching 8,336 participants. Parental fairs cover various topics such as health, nutrition, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, stimulation and education.
Media: 1,421,126 listeners are tuning into 52 educational radio programmes broadcasted in three languages on 84 radio stations and live streamed through facebook and a mobile app. Additionally, UNICEF has created 14 new webpages on their website including articles on talking to children about the pandemic and long-distance parenting, storytelling videos, cleaning and hygiene tips, self-learning resources, indoor play activities and how to promote early childhood development at home.
Material: 200 ECD centers were equipped with ECD kits.
Due to COVID-19, UNICEF had to halt parenting classes and opted to continue the programme with a non-presencial approach strengthening the media coverage. UNICEF is providing technical support to the government to enable it to build the necessary structures to carry out parental education to the communities.
UNICEF is a non-governmental organisation that advocates for the protection of children's rights, helps children across the world meet basic needs and expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. Re&Act and UNICEF have partnered to support innovative and sustainable projects for children since 2006.
Photos are courtesy of UNICEF: © UNICEF/Sokol