Early childhood development (ECD) refers to an integral stage for a child's growth and development, ranging from birth up to the age of eight. The brain's growth in this period lays the foundation for the development of early language skills and higher cognitive functions (including physical, emotional, and social skills). For this reason, the ECD stage plays a profound role in the lives of children and their future success.
This white paper explores the theme of ECD by studying its importance, and emphasizes the need for further investment in the ECD sector. It further discusses Rwanda's experience in the provision of ECD services through the implementation of the "Transforming the Lives of Children in Rwanda" Programme. This programme was introduced in 2014 and has been executed in two phases: Phase I (2014-2016) and Phase II (2017-2020). The programme aims to provide access to ECD services, especially to more vulnerable segments of the Rwandan population and foster responsive parenting.
Athena Infonomics, in collaboration with FATE Consulting Ltd. and under the guidance of UNICEF Rwanda, conducted the end-line evaluation of Phase II of the programme, the report for which can be accessed here.