Africa's Future, Africa's Challenge: Early Childhood Care and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
Twenty-four papers examine the state of early childhood development among sub-Saharan Africa's children. Papers discuss the state of young children in sub-Saharan Africa; positioning early childhood development (ECD) nationally--trends in selected African countries; early childhood care and education in sub-Saharan Africa--what it would take to meet the Millennium Development Goals; brain development and ECD--a case for investment; new threats to ECD--children affected by HIV/AIDS; ECD in Africa--a historical perspective; (mis)understanding ECD in Africa--the force of local and global motives; fathering--the role of men in raising children in Africa--holding up the other half of the sky; ECD policy--a comparative analysis in Ghana, Mauritius, and Namibia; participatory ECD policy planning in Francophone West Africa; responding to the challenge of meeting the needs of children under three in Africa; introducing preprimary classes in Africa--opportunities and challenges; inclusive education--a Mauritian response to the "inherent rights of the child"; parenting challenges for the changing African family; ECD and HIV/AIDS--the newest programming and policy challenge; supporting young children in conflict and postconflict situations--child protection and psychosocial well-being in Angola; strategic communication in early childhood development programs--the case of Uganda; the synergy of nutrition and ECD interventions in sub-Saharan Africa; the impact of ECD programs on maternal employment and older children's school attendance in Kenya; the Madrasa ECD program--making a difference; linking policy discourse to everyday life in Kenya--impacts of neoliberal policies on early education and childrearing; community-based approaches that work in Eastern and Southern Africa; whether early childhood programs can be financially sustainable in Africa; and a tri-part approach to promoting ECD capacity in Africa--ECD seminars, international conferences, and the Early Childhood Development Virtual University. Garcia is Lead Human Development Economist in the World Bank's Human Development Department, Africa Region. Pence is Director of the Early Childhood Development Virtual University and Professor in the School of Child and Youth Care, Faculty of Human and Social Development, at the University of Victoria. Evans is Director Emeritus for the Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development. Index.
The availability and cost of child care play an important role in the decisions that households make about allocating labor and choosing between informal home care and ECD.A mother’s decision to join the labor force is based on her expected earnings compared with the costs of available day care. Insufficient child care options could be a barrier for women with children to join the labor force (for example, Kimmel 1998). The custodial role of ECD centers frees female household members for other activities and allows mothers to enter the labor market. The additional income newly employed mothers bring home can be significant and may lift some households out of poverty. In the longer term, the increased work experience may also lead to increased job skills and higher earnings for household members. Better employment options, in turn, may decrease the reliance of low-income families on government subsidies and increase their self-sufficiency.Research in developing countries also indicates that females other than the mother, especially young daughters, provide free child care, releasing mothers for paid work (for example, Deutsch 1998). For example, Psacharopoulos and Arriagada (1989) find that in Brazilian households, the presence of younger siblings has a negative effect on school attendance of older children. In El Salvador, girls missed more school than boys because they stayed home to help with chores (Bittencourt and DiCicco 1979). Deolalikar (1998) finds significant differences in girls’ (but not boys’) school enrollment in householdswith children under 3 in Kenya. He reports a particularly strong effect for girls attending secondary school. The presence of a child 3 or younger reduces the probability that a girl aged 14–17 would be enrolled in secondary school by 41 percent, conditional on other determinants of enrollment. The corresponding effect for boys is only 5 percent. These studies indicate that when child care centers are unavailable or too costly, older siblings are more likely to provide child care.