Funding Early Childhood Education

  We’re teaming up with three of our grantee-partners in Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia to support a handful of community-based organizations focused on Early Childhood Development.  Namwera AIDS Coordinating Committee, Tanzania Home Economics Association, and Mulumbo Early Childhood Care and Development Foundation have extensive experience in Early Childhood Development (ECD) and helped us to identify 25 new organizations that are planning to focus on the issue this year.  This initiative is funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

We’re now busy reading proposals and requesting external assessments of those groups, with plans to award grants of up to $15,000 to five groups in each country before the end of March.


Because all of the applicants are new to Firelight, reviewing the proposals provides us with an opportunity to expand our understanding of the approaches that communities in Africa are taking to enhance ECD programs in their area.  We’ve just received the last of the proposals and now we’re beginning to get a picture of the variety of projects and solutions groups feel will work in their communities.

A common trend we’re seeing is training and education activities for caregivers, teachers, and parents in areas that will equip them to provide quality care and support to young children.  It’s clear that when it comes to ECD, knowledge is key.  Every group so far has proposed to use a portion of the funds for these activities.  Most are ECD-specific, but some groups are also considering trainings on issues of nutrition and health, school governance, children's rights, and agriculture to promote income generation and food security.  Many of the proposals include conducting community meetings to raise awareness and engage community members in their programs.

No two proposals have been identical and each community requires its own unique support.  The groups vary in size, with annual budgets as modest as $1,500, and as great as $700,000.

ECD is a subject that Firelight has been supporting for over a decade with 41 grantees working on the issue.  Children begin learning about the world well before they reach school age and ECD promotes happy, resilient children from the very start.