Posted by: africanpressorganization | 20 November 2009

The 4th African International Conference on Early Childhood Development calls on countries to take action and advocates for the African Union heads of state to hold a special summit on childhood

 

 


 

 

The 4th African International Conference on Early Childhood Development calls on countries to take action and advocates for the African Union heads of state to hold a special summit on childhood

 

TUNIS, Tunisia, November 20, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Fourth African International Conference on Early Childhood Development (ECD), on the theme “From Policy to Action: Expanding Investment in ECD for Sustainable Development”, ended on 13 November in Dakar with a celebration of childhood at Marius Ndiaye Stadium.

The conference was officially closed on 12 November by the Vice-President of Senegal’s

National Assembly, Mr. Iba Nder Thiam, at the Meridien President Hotel in Dakar. A

communiqué adopted by the participants called on African presidents, first ladies, ministers,

societies as a whole and the international community to accelerate the development and

implementation of holistic, integrated ECD policies and services for all children and to expand

investment in high-quality ECD services.

A more specific appeal is directed to:

o the heads of government and first ladies who attended the conference, requesting that they

“become the champions of ECD” and encourage African leaders rapidly to increase

investment in ECD;

o President Abdoulaye Wade of the Republic of Senegal, requesting him to ask the heads of

state of the African Union to organize a special summit on early childhood;

o African governments, requesting them to formulate budgets and public policies aimed at

meeting the needs of children and particularly targeting vulnerable children and mothers

in rural areas and shantytowns.

The communiqué draws attention to the challenges raised by the world economic crisis, food

insecurity, and problems relating to energy and the environment, which increase children’s

vulnerability and make it all the more necessary to ensure access to ECD services and to increase

the funding allocated to them.

The first ladies of Senegal, Cape Verde and Zanzibar, Ms. Viviane Wade, Ms. Abdelcia Pires and

Ms. Shadiya Karume, who attended the conference, also issued a statement in favor of early

childhood development, calling on countries to ensure that the rights of young children and their

mothers are respected, to increase and improve services from the prenatal stage to 8 years of age,

with particular emphasis on the period from 0 to 3 years, and to give special attention to mothers

and young children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.

The first ladies also pledged to use the media to convey messages on ECD to parents and

children. They invited all other African first ladies to join forces with them to promote ECD.

They declared that they would continue to collaborate with the ADEA Working Group on Early

Childhood Development and that they concurred with the communiqué of the Fourth African

International Conference on Early Childhood Development.

In her closing address, Ann Thérèse N’Dong Jatta, director of UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for

the Development of Education in Africa (BREDA), appealed to African governments and citizens

to take speedy action: “Countries cannot afford not to invest in ECD: neuroscience research tells

us that 70% of brain development takes place before birth, and 90% before the age of 8″, she

affirmed. “The current situation in which there are not enough ECD services means that we are

investing in costly rehabilitation services. Be it to prevent criminality, encourage gender equality

or increase economic growth, we need to invest now in the health and success of young children

and to build solid foundations for the development of our countries.”

ADEA Executive Secretary Ahlin Byll-Cataria stated that the findings of the conference would

be brought to the attention of the African Union, with a view to making ECD a priority for the

entire continent. Mr. Byll-Cataria also noted that ADEA would continue its activities in favor of

ECD through its working group as well as through the creation of an inter-country quality node

on ECD to facilitate dialogue and cooperation between countries.

The Fourth African International Conference on Early Childhood Development (ECD), on the theme

“From Policy to Action: Increasing Investment in ECD for Sustainable Development”, was held from

10 to 13 November 2009 in Dakar. The conference was co-organized by the Working Group on Early

Childhood Development (WGECD) of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa

(ADEA) and by the government of Senegal, with support from many development cooperation

organizations and African countries.

For further information on the conference and to consult the program, please visit:

http://ecdconference.org/index.html.

Tunis, November 16, 2009

Press contacts:

• Thanh-Hoa Desruelles, External Relations and Communication, ADEA, t.desruelles@afdb.org,

in Tunis: tel. +216/ 7110 3432 (office), +216/ 21 69 11 46 (cell).

ADEA Working Group on Early Childhood Development (WGECD)

UNESCO BREDA

12 avenue Léopold Sédar Senghor

B.P. 3311 Dakar, Senegal

E-mail: r.diawara@unesco.org; pstansbery@savechildren.org 3/3

• Kate Conradt, Director, Media and Communications, Save the Children, kconradt@savechildren.org

in Washington D.C.: tel. +1/ 202 640 6631 (office), +1/ 202 294 9700 (cell).

• Lawalley Cole, Coordinator, ADEA Working Group on Communication for Education and

Development (WG COMED), l.cole@unesco.org

in Cotonou: +229/ 21 32 04 12/ 2132 03 53 (office); +229/ 95 29 51 55 (cell).

• Caro Diagne Ndao, Communication Officer, Agence Nationale de la Case des Tout-petits, Dakar,

Senegal, tel. +221 77 645 81 01

 

SOURCE 

ADEA


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