WASHINGTON D.C., May 1, 2012 – The World Bank will support the Government of Mozambique in its effort to extend Early Childhood Development services in 600 rural communities. Through these community-based services, early attention to cognitive, linguistic, socio-emotional and physical skills is expected to help 84,000 young children increase their chances of success in primary school and beyond.
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a credit of US$40 million equivalent in additional financing to Mozambique’s existing Education Sector Support Project, which is also supported by 12 other donors. The purpose of the new financing is to increase the quality and efficiency of the overall education system by helping increase school readiness among children of low-income families, and reducing primary-level repetition and dropout rates.
“I’m glad we are supporting the Government to act swiftly based on clear evidence that community-based preschool programs are a crucial investment in the children of Mozambique, many of whom currently lack these services,” said Laurence Clarke, World Bank Country Director for Angola, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe. “We are confident that investments in young children at the right age will help to break the poverty cycle in Mozambique in the long run and that it will contribute towards a brighter future for all Mozambicans.”
The recent impact evaluation of preschool programs run by Save the Children in rural Mozambique shows that children going to preschool are much more likely to show interest in mathematics and writing, recognize shapes, and show respect for other children, than those who are not. Another World Bank publication entitled Investing in Young Children notes that poor children who do not have access to quality ECD interventions are more likely to have low productivity and income as adults, thus contributing to an inter-generational transmission of poverty.
“In Mozambique there are about 4.5 million children under the age of 5, but less than five percent of them are enrolled in preschool programs, which are mostly in urban areas and privately run, making access to pre-school education rare among children from low-income families,” said Sophie Naudeau, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project. “By making a start on Early Childhood Development services for children in five provinces, the Government is helping them better chances in school and later life, and is laying the foundation for a community-based system that can be replicated nationwide.”
World Bank funding will support the provision of Early Childhood Development services through community-based programs implemented by a third-party provider in Nampula, Cabo Delgado, Tete, Gaza, and Maputo Provinces. It will also support the development of technical and institutional capacity at the national, provincial, and district levels with a view towards a sustainable nationwide program in the future.
The World Bank has invested US$ 4.1 billion in Mozambique to date, and its current portfolio comprises non-lending (technical assistance and knowledge) and lending activities in all major sectors, including budget support, agriculture, business environment, decentralization, education, energy, governance, health, municipal development, support for small and medium enterprise development including spatial planning, transport infrastructure, and water and sanitation.
 The ESSP, which was approved by the World Bank Board of Directors on April 28, 2011, became effective on February 6, 2012. The project is expected to close on July 31st, 2015, and apart from IDA funds in the amount of US$71 million it received complementary funds from EFA-FTI CF grant of US$90 million. The ESSP contributes to the overall Education Sector Support Fund (FASE) pool of donors contributions for the Mozambique Education Sector Support Program, to which the following 12 donors also contribute: Ireland, Finland, Germany, DFID (UK Department for International Development), Portugal, Spain, UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund), CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency), the Netherlands, DANIDA (Danish International Development Agency), Italy, and Flanders Cooperation.