Child Development Perspectives

Special Section on Strengthening Africa's Contributions to Child Development Research

International Journal of Educational Policy, Research & Practice

Capacity Building for ECD in Africa: Introduction to Special Issue

SSA Tertiary Institutions Survey


In 2010-2012 ECDVU, with UNICEF ESARO and UNESCO BREDA, conducted a survey of tertiary institutions in West & Central Africa, and East & Southern Africa, to create a list of ECD/ECCD/ECE programs offered by those institutions. That data list can be viewed/downloaded here.


For more information about the survey, go to the AS&I page on this website.


Links to  ECD Journals in or focused on Africa


Africa's Future, Africa's Children

Early Childhood Care and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

This book presents a balanced collection of articles written by African and non-African authors ranging from field practitioners to academicians and from members of government organizations to those of non-governmental and local organizations. Topics covered include the rationale for investing in children, policy trends in ECD, historical perspectives of ECD in SSA including indigenous approaches, threats from HIV/AIDS, and the importance of fathers in children's lives.


Published: 2008

Editors: Marito Garcia, Alan Pence, and Judith L. Evans

Download book:     English - PDF;     French - PDF

Link to publisher's website


Identified below are publications on  ECD in SSA that relate closely to the three initiatives focused on by this website. In reviewing these selected publications you will note that we encourage the creation of Open Access (OA) materials so that they can be used at no cost to the reader.  If you intend to use/adapt the material please ensure that you review the restrictions of that particular license (go to www.creativecommons.org for a full list of license descriptions).

For a larger range of SSA ECD related publications go to our related project, the searchable compendium located at: www.ecdafricaresources.org.

ECD in Africa


Working Papers in Early Childhood Development

A case for early childhood development in sub-Saharan Africa

"This special issue is devoted exclusively to a bold and exciting initiative to advance ECD policies, research and programs in Africa."


The articles in this special issue are written primarily by ECDVU SSA-1 graduates.


Published:  2004

Editors: Alan Pence and Kofi Marfo

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The Role of Knowledge and Culture in Child Care in Africa

This book examines early childhood development (ECD) in Africa. The authors study the positive and negative cultural practices of ethnic groups in Kenya and Uganda and their influence on ECD. While emphasizing the positive, the authors argue that negative local practices such as female genital mutilation, child marriage, and child labor must be challenged because they may violate human rights and are detrimental to the well-being of children. Significantly, the authors conclude that while the forces of globalization have begun to transform education and have led to cultural disassociation in Africa, positive ECD strategies must strengthen rather than supplant the natural and local realities for children.


Published:  2011

Authors: Auma Okwany, Elizabeth Ngutuku, Arthur Muhangi

Link to publisher's website

REPORTS & JOURNALS

Locally Relevant and Quality ECCE Programmes: Implications of research on indigenous African Child Development and Socialization

Most sub-Saharan African societies display linguistic diversity, rapid social change, rural-urban contrasts in lifestyle and widespread biculturation. Planning and delivery of early childhood care and education (ECCE) services in the region have been constrained by the legacy of Western colonial occupation, low prevalence of literacy and limited institutionalization of systematic research. Some international agencies tend to construe ECCE as a compensatory intervention for children disadvantaged by poverty, primarily to prepare them for formal schooling. The design of ECCE services in Africa should focus on local strengths including indigenous games and music, emphasize community-based provision, incorporate participation by pre-adolescent children; use indigenous African languages and local funds of knowledge; and accord priority to inclusion of children with special needs. Strategies are identified to address the challenges confronting application of these recommendations.


Published:  2014; Open Access

Authors: Robert Serpell and A. Bame Nsamenang

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BOOKS                   

Download PDF of each issue by clicking on the applicable edition language wanted:


Issue 4 2014- October          English  and  French             

Issue 3 2014- June               English  and  French

Issue 2 2014- January           English  and  French

Issue 1 2013- September     English and  French

The international image of children is becoming increasingly homogeneous and Western-derived, with an associated erosion of the diversity of child contexts.

Culture, context and diversity are central concerns that have led to the development of several different critical streams of work within early childhood care and education during the 1990s. The authors describe some of these 'reconceptualisizg' efforts and identify various areas of promise for future cooperative work. The second part represents an effort to move beyond the singular image of the 'global child'. The authors address the ned to support and promote local perspectives, questions and issues, and trace the 'triple heritage' of ECD in Africa.

Published: 2008

Authors: Alan Pence and Bame Nsamenang

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ECD Networks in Africa


 The Africa Early Childhood Network (AfECN) launched their website in early July 2017. AfECN brings together national and regional civil society organizations and networks, academia, entrepreneurs, and the private sector, in a collaborative effort towards improving outcomes and creating increased access to quality ECD services for all children in sub-Saharan Africa.


For more information visit their site at:  https://africaecnetwork.org/.

Africa ECD Voice News-Journal

The articles in this Special Section are based on contributions to an SRCD-sponsored invitational conference held in Victoria, Canada, in February 2009. The introductory article establishes the rationale for focusing on Africa as part of an effort to advance a more inclusive science of child development, provides a brief overview of the thrust of the other articles in the section, describes two research capacity-building initiatives that emerged from the conference, and concludes with reflective perspectives on conceptual and methodological considerations for a future African child development field.


Published:  2011 (Volume 5, Issue 2)

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Indigenous Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Curriculum Framework for Africa: A Focus on Context and Contents

The history of human childhoods and efforts to care for and educate children during their early years of life has focused almost exclusively on models with origins from continents outside Africa. These models have been advocated as the universal ideals for early childhood care and education. This booklet represents a milestone in Africa’s struggles to document the preparation of its children for life. Since the focal ‘child’ is African, it advocates for a variety of developmental practices that can run concurrently with, and/or help re-form, existing western based approaches.


Published:  2014; Open Access

Authors: Patience Awopegba, Esther Oduolowu, and

A. Bame Nsamenang

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Link to publisher's website

Complexities, Capacities, Communities:

Changing Development Narratives in Early Childhood Education, Care and Development.

The term 'capacity building' has come into common usage in 21st century international development. While the term means different things to different people, it is often used to describe an infusion of knowledge or skills to help 'build' a government's or institution's ability to address key development challenges.  However, like other well intentioned interventions from the industrialized West, such 'capacity building' can have destructive as well as productive impacts. This volume problematizes such activities and presents an alternative approach to promoting capacity in development contexts.


Published: 2015/16;

Authors: Alan Pence and Allison Benner

Download book:      English:     PDF     EPUB

                                      French:     PDF     EPUB

Order a hard copy / commander une copie papier

New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development Special Issue: Child Development in Africa: Views from Inside

The chapters collectively display a variety of African contexts and reflexive evidence of the authors’ African cultural roots. Connecting research with African audiences demands cooperative communication between educational practitioners and parents with low literacy, and cross-sector communication among professionals. Intracultural exploration of factors influencing the pattern of human development has begun to document the potential of indigenous African cultures as a fund of resources for enhancing child development. Priority topics for future African developmental research include multilingualism, musical performance, socially distributed caregiving, and the relation between adolescence and economic activity. Integration of multiple disciplines in the application of research-based principles to service delivery in the fields of community-based (re)habilitation and early childhood care and education calls for researcher collaboration with practitioners.


Published:  2014, Issue 146

Editors: Robert Serpell and Kofi Marfo

Link to publisher's website