Where Does ELP Work?

December 11, 2015


The Early Learning Partnership (ELP) supports activities in 26 countries in Africa and South Asia, including: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda. To download a full summary of all current ELP country activities, click here.



Investment: $150,000

In Afghanistan today, early childhood development (ECD) services reach only a tiny portion of the population. The country has made great strides as it emerges from conflict and violence, with general school enrollment growing more than eight-fold since 2002. However, just 1 percent of children ages 3 to 5 attend preschool, and ECD services are overseen by two separate ministries (Social Affairs and Education) and various NGOs without coordination or quality control.

ELP Investment: ELP funding is being used to assess, improve, and expand ECD services throughout the country in partnership with the government and other key development partners.  A thorough diagnosis of the current ECD environment will be conducted and then applied to design a comprehensive ECD strategy.  ELP funds will also support the design and pilot of a method to assess quality of service provision in existing ECD centers. The lessons learned from this work will inform the World Bank’s new basic education project being designed with the government in 2016 and 2017.

Related links:



Investment: $125,000

Funds leveraged: $267 million (ECD integrated into existing project)

In Bangladesh, poor access to early learning opportunities is closely linked with severe problems of maternal and child malnourishment. A quarter of all pregnant women are undernourished, and more than a fifth of all children are born at low birthweight. The burden of undernutrition continues through early childhood, harming children’s cognitive development with lifelong consequences. Many families’ access to knowledge about good nutrition and food practices remains limited, so improving this, as well as their access to early learning opportunities, will be critical in stemming the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

ELP Investment: With assistance from the World Bank, the government is implementing its Income Support Program for the Poorest (ISPP) project, designed to reach mothers and children in the poorest rural areas, where rates of malnutrition are especially high.  ELP funds are supporting the integration of early childhood development (ECD) into this project, in effect merging the benefits of ECD knowledge with the benefits of a broader program of social support.

For example, ECD activities will be incorporated into the conditional cash transfer program to increase mothers’ use of Child Nutrition and Cognitive Development (CNCD) services. Pregnant women and mothers will receive their cash transfers based on their attendance at monthly CNCD sessions. There they will learn ways to promote healthy growth through good nutritional practices, how to build bonds with their newborns, how to encourage the development in their young children of strong motor, cognitive, social, and language skills, and ways to use positive discipline.

Related links:


Burkina Faso

Investment: $261,650

Funds leveraged: $6.5 million (New ECD activities developed)

In Burkina Faso, fewer than 4 percent of young children are enrolled in pre-primary education and fewer than 25 percent of preschool teachers are trained. Malnutrition and stunting rates are high, affecting one-third of children below age five. Malnutrition in Burkina Faso stems not only from poor access to good food but also from inappropriate feeding, difficulties in accessing health care, socio-cultural practices, and lack of hygiene and sanitation, all linked with poverty. To help address early childhood development (ECD) needs in tandem with broader health and nutrition needs, the ELP has approved two investments in Burkina Faso.

ELP investment

Project 1 through the Education sector: The government has committed to expanding both the quantity and the quality of ECD programs. To help it achieve that goal, the ELP team is supporting an innovative technology—interactive audio instruction (IAI)—that can deliver high-quality content to large numbers of beneficiaries in very remote areas at the cost of just a few dollars per child per year. Working within the World Bank-financed Education Access and Quality Improvement Project (EAQIP), the government and the ELP team designed the $2 million ECD/IAI component for children ages three and four so that it is aligned with the national curriculum standards. The government will also use the IAI program to provide untrained teachers with continuous guidance and reinforcement, linked with a project-designed system of teacher certification, opening a cost-effective, practical option for teacher training in these rural areas.

Over the lifetime of EAQIP, 15,000 children will be newly enrolled in preschool and 600 teachers will receive training. The ELP team has also developed a toolkit to provide guidance for other countries interested in IAI for preschools; this resource is already being used in several countries. The Burkina Faso project will be carried out in conjunction with the ELP-supported Social Safety Net Project, described next. 

Project 2 through the Social Protection sector: Through its existing Social Safety Net Project, the government provides income support to poor households. ELP funding is being used to incorporate ECD and nutrition interventions within this cash-transfer program, known as Burkin-Naong-Sa Ya. The integrated approach, which targets 40,000 poor households with children below the age of 15, will be put into effect by the Ministry of Social Action and National Solidarity, with technical and financial support from the World Bank. The new ECD/nutrition component will employ communitywide social and behavior change communications, small-group training for women with children below the age of three, and home visits to specific households. Its larger aims are to reduce malnutrition, prepare children for a brighter future, and break the intergenerational transfer of poverty.

Related links:


Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Investment: $30,000

Funds leveraged: $1 million (New ECD activities developed)

In DRC, where less than 5 percent of children have access to pre-primary education, the government’s recently revised national education law, Cadre de l’enseignement National, now guarantees preschool for all children ages three through five.  

ELP investment: In 2014, the ELP team helped conduct a systems analysis of the country’s early childhood development (ECD) programs and policies. The resulting World Bank report, which used the Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) framework, assessed not only early learning needs and policies but health, nutrition, and social and child protection policies in the DRC, alongside regional and international comparisons. The report highlights the need for increased support for ECD in the country. In July 2015, World Bank staff reviewed the report findings and recommendations with government officials and other ECD stakeholders and discussed ways to scale access to ECD across the country. The ELP team then worked with World Bank colleagues and the government to design a new Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Project with $1 million in funding for ECD activities.  

In addition, ELP investment supported pilots in two regions of DRC that deployed interactive audio instruction (IAI) as a cost-effective way to deliver curriculum to remote locations via MP3 or radio and guiding classroom teachers through pre-recorded activities. Five IAI “episodes” were built from the national curriculum, recorded by local artists, and tested at the school level. A toolkit for replicating this pilot was also developed and is publicly available and being used in several other countries.

Related Links



Investment: $150,000

Pre-primary enrolment has expanded massively in Ethiopia, growing from less than 10 percent in 2008 to 26 percent by 2015.  The country has achieved this mainly by launching “0 classes” in regular primary schools, attaining an enrollment of 1 million in the first year of implementation alone. Still, much work remains to be done to improve quality and increase access for poor and disadvantaged groups. A wide variety of early childhood development (ECD) models are being practiced in the country by the government, the private sector, local communities, religious organizations, and NGOs. A more rigorous monitoring and quality assurance system is needed.

ELP investment: The ELP team is supporting the government to identify “0 class” interventions that work to improve quality and are cost-effective, scalable, and sustainable.  Once the right interventions are identified, the team will work with the government to design a plan to scale at the national level, with a focus on reaching disadvantaged children.

Related Links


The Gambia

Investment: $1,050,000

Funds leveraged: $4.47 million (New ECD activities developed)

In The Gambia, approximately one-third of children have access to pre-primary education. To promote the transition from pre-primary to primary school and reduce the constraints of distance and fees, the Ministry of Education is attaching early childhood development (ECD) centers to existing primary schools.

ELP investment:  In 2014, the ELP team supported an analysis of the ECD programs and policies that affect young children in The Gambia, using the Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER- ECD) tool.  The ELP team also helped evaluate two public ECD programs for children ages three to six— classrooms attached to primary schools and community center–based programs—to help the government identify which was most effective and should be scaled. The study found that children in primary school-based classes (known as “annexes”) performed better than those who attended pre-primary at community centers, and also found that a newly adopted curriculum improved performance at the annexes while showing no effects at the community centers. The ELP is now supporting the government in its construction of 27 ECD classrooms, in conducting monitoring and supervision of ECD services in those new classrooms, and in purchasing teaching and learning materials.

Related links:



Investment: $146,232

Funds leveraged: $71,215,000 (Activities developed to ensure quality during scale-up)

Ghana has one of the highest early childhood education (ECE) enrollment rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Government of Ghana offers 2 years of universal free pre-primary education and is committed to ensuring quality early learning to its youngest citizens. To promote ECE-system quality and school readiness nationally, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has set priorities to (i) increase the number of children accessing quality early learning, focusing on disadvantaged districts and (ii) improve quality of ECE services through improved in-service teacher training and greater parental engagement. The GES aims to assess ECE service quality through innovative measures and advanced methods of school readiness and classroom quality assessments with locally-adapted direct observation tools.

ELP investment:  The ELP grant will support additional data collection for an ongoing impact evaluation that is evaluating two efforts to improve the quality of kindergarten education in Ghana: (a) an in-service teacher training (supply-side), and (b) a parental awareness training program (demand-side) on school readiness (i.e. early literacy and numeracy skills, socioemotional skills, and executive function). The evaluation will assess the potential sustained impacts of these interventions on (i) teaching quality and teacher well-being, (ii) parental engagement in schools, parent-child interactions at home, and school choice, and (iii) the utility of cutting-edge measurement tools of both classroom quality and early childhood development/school readiness in low- and middle-income country contexts.

The initial ELP investment has leveraged increased funding amounting $71.2 million from key partners such as USAID, the World Bank’s Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund, and UBS Optimus Foundation to ensure the effective delivery of scaled project interventions.

Related links:


Investment: $250,000

The government’s Universalization of Elementary Education Program (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) provides quality learning opportunities to children in primary classes I and II.  The Integrated Child Development Program (ICDS) reaches young children early childhood development (ECD) centers, which are sometimes located on school premises.

ELP Investment: ELP finance in India is enabling the World Bank country team to respond to the government’s request to identify ways to improve the quality of ECD programming and to expand access to pre-primary school.  ELP funds will be used to identify and pilot promising approaches in learning standards, assessment tools, and teacher training packages, with the goal of helping India establish a continuum of quality instruction and classroom environments from preschool through the early primary grades. This strategic approach will embed ECD in the government’s program of nationwide universal access to elementary education.

Related links:



Investment: $179,500

Funds leveraged: $147,000 (ECD integrated into existing project)

Pre-primary attendance is quite high in Kenya, having nearly doubled from 33 percent to 60 percent since 2005. However, the quality of early childhood learning is severely lacking, with one study finding that one-quarter of first graders are unable to read a single syllable and half of them cannot count beyond the number 10. This low performance appears to extend to the higher grades, with seven out of ten students in Standard 3 (third grade) unable to read at a Standard 2 (second grade) level. Responsibility for early childhood development (ECD) and early learning has recently been decentralized to the county level. However, counties have limited experience, guidance, and policy-relevant evidence on how to best deliver these services, particularly with constrained budgets. 

ELP investment

Project 1: To help decentralize the governance of ECD services to the county level, the ELP team is working with both the national government and the county governments of Kirinyaga, Nairobi, Nyamira, and Nyeri to develop county-level costing analyses and implementation plans.

Project 2: The ELP is funding a part of an impact evaluation of the delivery of early childhood education for the poor through the private sector. The evaluation is being carried out by Innovations for Poverty Action to learn whether private-sector innovation can be leveraged to deliver high-quality preschool for poor Kenyans. The evaluation team will compare the effectiveness of the Bridge International Academies model of low-cost private pre-primary education with government-run pre-primary schools, as well as other non-state pre-primary schools.  

Project 3: In rural western Kenya, 84 percent of children below age five live in homes without a single children’s book. The children’s books that exist are predominantly printed in an official national language, with few produced in the local languages. The ELP is supporting an evaluation of a project to improve school readiness through EMERGE Reading, to be conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action. The NGO-delivered intervention, which is hoped to be highly scalable, distributes age- and culturally appropriate books as well as parent training. The intervention’s goal is to improve school readiness among children (ages two to six) by improving their literacy skills, attention span, and relationships with parents. The evaluation will deploy a randomized control trial to examine impact on children, parents, and households.

Related Links:



Investment: $111,000

In Lesotho, more than half of all three- to five-year-old children lack access to pre-primary education. Early childhood care and development (ECCD) in Lesotho is delivered in three ways: through center-based care, home-based care, and reception classes in primary schools. The center-based model targets children ages three to five and requires parents to pay monthly school fees to cover teacher salaries. The home-based model is run by volunteer caregivers/teachers and is typically provided free to children ages two to five. In the third model, free reception classes are opened in public primary schools and target five-year-old children just before they start Grade 1.

ELP investment: ELP financing is being used in partnership with Lesotho’s Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) to examine the effectiveness of these three ECCD service models. The MoET and other stakeholders are seeking empirical evidence on the quality of the ECCD provided to determine which model(s) to scale. The ELP is supporting the evaluation to inform the government’s next Education Sector Plan (starting in 2016) as well as its next application to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Given this context, ELP’s commitment in Lesotho has the potential to catalyze a significant expansion of quality ECCD services in rural areas.

Related links:



Investment: $325,000

Funds leveraged: $313,375 (New ECD activities developed)

In Liberia, fewer than half of all preschool-age children are enrolled in preschool. Barriers to expanding enrollment include the relatively high cost of programs and the low supply of trained preschool teachers.

ELP investment:  The ELP team is working with World Bank colleagues and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in Liberia to launch an innovative approach making preschool teacher training an option within an employment training program. The team is partnering with the Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (EPAG) program, a World Bank-funded project providing business skills, job skills, and life skills to adolescent girls and young women in Liberia so they can better gain employment and generate income. The ELP team studied the feasibility of training young women to become preschool teachers or operators of childcare centers as small businesses. ELP support also identified ways to improve the quality of the childcare available to the trainees with their own young children.

The newly developed training program will provide young women with a meaningful, safe, and financially stable option for employment in their local communities. Parents, children, and local business owners will benefit from an increased supply of qualified teachers, caregivers, childcare, and early learning options. The model has significant potential to be replicated in Bank-supported youth employment programs to provide a livelihood for young people in countries where there is a demand for childcare and early childhood education.

Related links:



Investment: $215,000

Funds leveraged: $45,000,000 (Quality assurance and evidence-based approaches promoted)

In Madagascar, less than 10 percent of all children have access to preschool and more than half of all children are chronically malnourished. The government recognizes the need for targeted health and nutrition activities to prevent the irreversible cognitive harm caused by chronic malnutrition and to improve school readiness and future learning. The Ministry of Education is developing an early child development (ECD) strategy so the education, health, and nutrition sectors can work together toward common goals.

ELP investment: The aim of the ELP’s work in Madagascar is to improve early childhood outcomes with an integrated approach to early learning, health, and nutrition. Two rounds of ELP support have contributed to the government’s integrated approaches within the health, nutrition, and education sectors.

In a first tranche of funding (2013), the ELP supported an innovative pilot testing the impact and cost-effectiveness of different types of interventions tackling chronic malnutrition and promoting child development. Seed funding from the ELP supported training and on-the-ground coaching activities for community workers, who conducted home visits focused on early stimulation, and a portion of the funding also supported the Ministry of Education in preparing an Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) diagnostic. For the latter, ECCE experts developed a survey tool and leveraged additional financing from an ongoing Global Partnership for Education (GPE) grant in Madagascar.

A second tranche of funding is continuing to support evaluation of the ongoing community-based pilot, specifically through a midline survey and process evaluation, and will likewise support disseminating the findings from the ECCE diagnostic. These evaluations will inform the National ECD Strategy. Interventions found to be successful will be scaled-up nationwide through the existing National Community Nutrition Program, which reaches more than 1 million children under age five.

ELP funding is currently supporting the government in assessing its broader ECD policy framework. This includes informing policy dialogue and improving essential ECD services across the health, nutrition, and education sectors. Using the SABER-ECD tool, the World Bank Madagascar team will analyze current ECD policies and interventions to better understand cost-effective multi-sectoral options for implementing the National ECD Strategy.

Related Links:



Investment: $25,000

Following the global food, fuel, and financial crises, government budgets and activities for early childhood development (ECD) were constrained in Malawi, jeopardizing service delivery at existing ECD centers. Currently, these centers serve about a third of the country’s children ages three to six. The World Bank’s Protecting Early Childhood Development in Malawi (PECD) project supported community-based childcare centers in meeting the critical needs of the most vulnerable children and strengthened governance, management, monitoring, and evaluation of ECD services. As part of the PECD project, the government tested different low-cost approaches for improving the quality of childcare centers.

ELP investment: The ELP contributed to the work described above by embedding early learning metrics into an impact evaluation of community-based ECD services. ELP funds also supplemented an impact evaluation of the PECD project, assessing the effect of ECD interventions on school readiness and early learning of children ages six to eight in 199 childcare centers in four of Malawi’s 28 districts. The evaluation will inform the government’s plans for scale-up.

Related Links:


Investment: $204,000

Funds leveraged: $3,000,000 (Quality assurance and evidence-based approaches promoted)

Health, nutrition, and education in Mali are all in a poor state, and the current security crisis there along with its economic impacts is further jeopardizing young children's wellbeing, both immediately and for their long-term future. The government has already started testing cost-effective early childhood development (ECD) strategies needed to mitigate the effects of the current crisis on vulnerable children, and it is also supporting the development of a new 10-year program in the education sector while further building Mali's resilience against future shocks.

ELP investment: The ELP is supporting the Ministry of Education’s ECD intervention in target areas of Bamako, Segou, and Sikasso by building capacity for project planning and implementation. It is also supporting studies to aid in designing and carrying out an ECD component that can be integrated into the ongoing Mali Education for All Emergency Project.

Related Links:



Investment: $220,000

Funds leveraged: $98,000,000 (ECD integrated into existing project)

In Mauritania, just over half of children ages three to five receive adequate support for learning from their families. Other childhood challenges include malnutrition (14 percent of children this age are moderately or severely wasted) and abuse (87 percent of all children are subjected to violent discipline). To promote increased investment in poor children’s health, nutrition, and education, the government is developing a national cash transfer program, supported by the World Bank’s Mauritania Social Safety Net System project, which will reach about 100,000 extremely poor households. Under the program, beneficiary households will receive a regular financial stipend, conditional on attending training and receiving accompanying measures designed to improve knowledge and promote better parenting practices to promote child development.

ELP investment: ELP financial assistance aims to kick-start early learning in Mauritania by supporting the inclusion of early learning activities in the above-mentioned safety net program. Activities and materials will be developed and adapted to the Mauritanian religious, tribal, and ethnic context. This ELP-supported initiative provides a unique opportunity for impact, because awareness of early learning practices is extremely low in Mauritania. The early learning activities will be mainstreamed within the safety net program’s core curriculum.

Related Links:



Investment: $115,000

Funds leveraged: $40 million (Quality ECD scale-up ensured and cross-sectoral work promoted)

In Mozambique, only 4 percent of children under age five are enrolled in early childhood development (ECD) programs. Rural disadvantaged children, in particular, suffer serious delays in cognitive and language skills relative to their more advantaged peers, as was documented by a recent World Bank study of a rural community-based ECD program in the Gaza province. This has serious implications for school readiness and later school success.

ELP investment: ELP funds will support an ongoing partnership between the World Bank and the government to scale up early childhood development (ECD) through an integrated nutrition and ECD intervention. As part of the Education Sector Support Project, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Planning and Development are expanding ECD activities in 600 rural communities across five provinces, aiming to reach approximately 45,000 children by the end of 2018. Simultaneously, the Ministry of Health’s Community Nutrition Enhancement Project is working to tackle the issue of chronic malnutrition among young children through an intensive early-nutrition intervention for adolescent girls, pregnant mothers, and children up to age two.

Mozambique’s ongoing early education and nutrition initiatives will benefit from ELP support through technical assistance for field supervision as well as support for an ongoing impact evaluation. In addition, the ELP will finance a South-South exchange with counterparts in Brazil, so that both national governments can share policy lessons on successful and scalable ECD models.

Related Links:



Investment: $240,000

Funds leveraged: $11.1 million (ECD integrated into existing project)

In Niger, only 6 percent of children are enrolled in preschool, and 43 percent of children are stunted. In 2012, the World Bank worked with the Prime Minister’s Office to develop a cash transfer program to support families most in need.

ELP investment: ELP funding is being to is support the government’s effort to scale up quality parenting education to promote child development by incorporating it into its cash transfer program. This work is occurring in two phases.  

In 2012, the ELP funded the development and piloting of parenting education classes. Under the pilot, when parents receive their cash transfers during community meetings they also learn important ways to improve their children’s development. This first phase proved highly effective in defining a clear mechanism for incorporating parenting education into the existing program, and it included the development of a comprehensive parenting training manual to foster early learning among the poorest families. A total of about 80,000 people have been reached so far.

A much larger second phase of ELP support will facilitate the delivery of quality parenting training among disadvantaged populations at scale, reaching an estimated 2 million people.  In addition to implementation support during scale-up, the ELP will fund an assessment to measure the quality of the parenting education delivered.

Related links:



Investment: $211,700

Funds leveraged: $7 million (New ECD activities developed)

Although the government mandates one year of pre-primary education for all children, in the Northwest region the average pre-primary net enrollment rate (among children ages four and five) is only 7 percent. Consequently, many children are not adequately prepared to succeed in primary school. The severe shortage of quality pre-primary education is caused by a range of factors, including lack of funding, poorly trained teachers, limited infrastructure, and lack of quality assurance.

ELP investment: To respond to these deficits, the ELP provided technical assistance to incorporate early childhood care and education activities into Nigeria’s Partnership for Education Project, a $100 million Global Partnership for Education (GPE) project in five Northern states: Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, and Sokoto. The GPE project includes a grant component (approximately $7.65 million) for improvements to pre-primary schools. These grants are earmarked to support 4,500 public schools and may be used for teaching and learning materials, caregiver and teacher training, and community education to promote parent and guardian engagement in early childhood. 

In addition to providing implementation support for the GPE project, the ELP is supporting the development of a diagnostic to assess non-formal ECD services, as well as the development of a strategic framework for ECD service provision to aid the government in expanding and scaling-up ECD activities in the future, beyond the GPE project closing date.

Related Links:



Investment: $200,000

Funds leveraged: $33 million (New ECD activities developed)

ELP funding has supported the design of an innovative early childhood component within the Third Punjab Education Sector Project (PESP III), a results-based project that disburses funds tied to meeting achievement of specific targets and outcomes.

The early childhood target is 7,000 newly established preschool classrooms meeting quality standards, including a trained teacher, quality materials, and regular visits by district quality assurance officers to mentor newly qualified teachers. Planned project activities also include a strategy for engaging parents and an innovative pilot to partner with district health and nutrition officers to promote child development. Children’s development and school-readiness will be measured throughout the project, which will serve an estimated 210,000 children.

ELP investment: The $200,000 invested by ELP will leverage a projected $33 million in new development finance for early childhood from a World Bank loan to the Government of Punjab. In addition, the government is hiring 4,200 new early childhood teachers this year. In the next 2-3 years the government will construct 6,000 new preschool classrooms and hire an additional 6,000 new teachers.

Related Links:



Investment: $250,000

In Rwanda, where 38 percent of children below age five are malnourished, the government has recently prioritized an integrated approach to early childhood development (ECD). By rapidly expanding social protection coverage and budgets and emphasizing child-sensitive models at the community level, the government is aiming to ensure that vulnerable families receive income support as well as parenting education.

ELP investment: In its first tranche of funding in 2012-14, the ELP supported integrating ECD and parenting skills into Rwanda’s national Social Protection System through the development of a Family Strengthening Intervention for Early Childhood Development. This innovative home-visiting program promotes ECD knowledge and responsive parenting skills among vulnerable Rwandan families who have at least one child under age four. With ELP assistance, a manual and workbook were developed for home visitors, who train and empower caregivers in strategies and activities to use with their children. 

A second tranche of ELP funding is supporting the next phase of the Family Strengthening Intervention, supporting a study to assess the feasibility and cost of scaling up the intervention program by embedding the ECD package within the national NCC community-based child protection model, which reaches extremely poor families qualifying for income support across the country.

Related links:

Sierra Leone

Investment: $55,000

Funds leveraged: $1 million (New ECD activities developed)

In Sierra Leone, access to early learning opportunities is very limited, with only an estimated 6.5 percent of children ages three to five currently enrolled in early childhood care and education (ECCE).

ELP investment: ELP mobilized resources for early childhood education by supporting the design of a US$1 million school-readiness intervention within the Bank-managed Revitalizing Education Development in Sierra Leone (REDiSL) project, co-financed by the Global Partnership for Education and DFID (United Kingdom). The intervention builds on existing models of service provision and pilots a cost-effective approach to ECCE while supporting the Ministry of Education in developing appropriate policies and quality standards. Activities include the establishment of approximately 50 pre-primary classrooms, delivering teacher and caregiver training to approximately 110 teachers, incorporating curriculum into the pre-service education, and establishing minimum quality standards for ECCE.

Related Links:


Sri Lanka

Investment: $100,000

Funds leveraged: $50 million (Quality assurance of ECD integrated into existing education project)

Access to early childhood development (ECD) services in Sri Lanka is limited for the most disadvantaged families, with wide variation and generally low quality in the services available across the country. The government has been playing a leading role in providing maternal and child health services for mothers and infants (up to age two), but in the provision of ECD services for children ages three to five its role has been limited. More than 80 percent of ECD centers catering to this age group are funded and managed by the non-state sector.

ELP investment: To help close the gaps in ECD services provision, with support from the World Bank the government has launched an Early Childhood Development Project. The new project is designed to enhance equitable access to and improve the quality of ECD services, especially for the three- to five-year-old age group. Technical assistance through the ELP is strengthening the knowledge base and strategic planning that underpins the government’s ongoing and planned ECD work. This technical assistance includes  preparing a costed implementation plan for the sector, developing and piloting tools for assessing child development, and analyzing the challenges faced by hard-to-reach populations in accessing ECD services. 

Related Links:



Investment: $70,000

In Sudan, access to both basic health services and basic education services for young children remains extremely low. 

ELP investment: At the request of the Ministry of Education, which has expressed interest in making early childhood care and education (ECCE) a priority, ELP funding was used to assess child- and school- level outcomes through a study of the status of ECCE in the country. This included an assessment in two states of children’s development, the quality of preschools, and the costs of service provision. The study is designed to inform the development of a national early-learning subsector strategy.

Related links:



Investment: $240,000

Funds leveraged: $2.33 million (New ECD activities developed, including action research)

In Tanzania, roughly a third of children have access to pre-primary school. The government recently announced that one year of pre-primary school will become compulsory, and it is preparing to expand pre-primary for children ages three through five. To roll out improved and better coordinated early childhood education (ECE) services, the government will need to mobilize financial, human, and technical resources, including an expanded teaching workforce, which, at present, is largely informal.

ELP investment: The ELP team is working with the government, UNICEF, and other partners to strengthen the National Early Childhood Education System, supporting a significant policy shift to expand quality ECE services. The activities supported include conducting a study of the pre-primary teaching workforce; reviewing existing pre-primary teacher-training programs; carrying out a national study on early learning outcomes and quality environment; costing early learning resource requirements; and developing an implementation plan to help the government meet its expansion goals. In addition, the ELP team is actively engaged in a multi-stakeholder ECD working group comprising government ministry officials, development partners, and non-governmental organizations.

Related Links:



Investment: $280,000

In Togo, only a small portion of children are enrolled in any form of early childhood care and education (ECCE).  In addition, given the high level of malnutrition amongst young children and the rapid population growth that the country is experiencing today, enormous pressure exists on the already limited capacity of the Government to provide social services to its youngest citizens. To improve access to ECCE services in recent years, the Government instituted a number of policies through its promising ten-year Education Sector Plan (ESP) which seeks to enhance early childhood development (ECD) by increasing the provision of childcare services for children 0-3 years old and ECCE for children 4-5 years old. Yet, despite increases in the availability of services, 82.6 percent of young children are still not participating in any form of ECCE. Significant challenges remain in both access and retention at the pre-primary level including resource constraints, disparities in access across regions, and poor quality of available services.  In order to achieve ESP goals and address demographic pressures, particularly those hard-to-reach and marginalized groups, innovative and cost-effective delivery models are needed.

ELP investment:  In 2016, the ELP team supported a study tour for senior officials from Togo’s Ministry of Education to learn about key aspects of the Radio Instruction to Strengthen Education (RISE) Project in Zanzibar, Tanzania. The study tour provided participating officials the opportunity to learn about (i) incentive mechanisms for young children to increase access and improve retention; (ii) management information system for preprimary education; and (iii) implementation processes, monitoring and evaluation, and results for policy-making. Based on the Government’s interest and demand, ELP is now supporting the Government in piloting an Interactive Audio Instruction (IAI) model to more effectively deliver ECCE services in Togo. This IAI pilot consists of 5 episodes built on the basis of the national curriculum and recorded by local artists.

Related links:



Investment: $40,000

Funds leveraged: $4 million (New ECD activities developed)

In Uganda, where less than 20 percent of children are enrolled in early childhood education (ECE), the majority of children enter primary school without adequate preparation.

ELP investment: In 2014, the ELP supported early learning within a Global Partnership for Education project. That year, a new Global Partnership for Education (GPE) project was being prepared to improve student learning outcomes in basic education, and the ELP funded technical assistance so that early learning components could be incorporated into it. The $100 million GPE Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project includes various elements aimed at improving children’s readiness to learn in primary school. A $2.1 million sub-component is designed to improve the content knowledge and skills of ECE care providers and instructors in ECE centers. This will include the expanded rollout of an ECE Teacher Education Certificate program, targeting both caregivers and instructors.

In addition, a $1 million component will strengthen the enabling environment for quality ECE provision, preparing the ground for potential scale-up in the medium to long-term. This includes revising the government’s ECD policy and related guidelines based on good practices learned from ongoing interventions. It also includes developing a costed implementation plan. Finally, it includes an advocacy campaign for enhanced acceptance and understanding of the importance of ECE and its potential scale-up across the country.

Related Links: