The Early Days
What’s amazing about early childhood development (ECD) centers is that they make it possible for community leaders to start a relationship with families before the family has even really begun, with a woman’s pregnancy. This allows for organizations to strategically engage families through all the stages of a child’s development. In the African context, ECD is preschool plus. It includes nutrition programs, gardens that engage the entire community and that can lead to income generating activities, vaccinations that stop endemics, and a number of other benefits. Of all the programs that Firelight supports, we probably see the largest volunteer contribution with ECD centers. These volunteers are anyone from parents, grandparents, guardians, and young people in the community.
Some of our ECD grantee partners in Malawi and Zambia sent the following pictures with some of their insights of the past year and plans for the future. Their comments show how important children’s development is to them and how significant it is to their communities.