Improving early childhood development and well-being in refugee and other marginalized countries
Early childhood development research has traditionally focused on single-intervention initiatives and non-refugee populations. This project will generate evidence to support effective, integrated and scalable early childhood development interventions for disadvantaged populations in low- and middle-income countries.
The project will investigate how underprivileged and marginalized environments threaten the development of children and their families. It will identify factors that build resilience in the face of these threats, especially for those who are displaced or are refugees from conflict. It will develop and validate culturally appropriate, gender-sensitive and affordable interventions that will benefit a large number of children and families. The project will then assess the effectiveness of an integrated package of interventions in critical areas of child development in an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, that is home to internally and externally displaced families. It will examine the feasibility and affordability of the package of interventions and the cost of scaling up in the studied communities.
The project will also build capacity in the science of early childhood development for frontline workers, researchers and leaders in policy and practice. This includes establishing a sustainable research and policy platform to share programs and practices globally; translating evidence into policy; and enabling expansion, replication and scale-up of effective interventions on the national, regional, and global levels. It will also strengthen the North-South partnership between two key institutions, the Aga Khan University and the Sinai Health System, to establish a well-recognized centre of excellence with the organizational and intellectual capacity to advance a more global science of early human development.
The Nairobi project will be co-led by Aga Khan University’s Institute of Human Development and the Sinai Health System. It will be part of comparative but separate global work on early childhood development under way in South Africa, Bangladesh, and India that is being conducted by the Alliance for Human Development and its local implementing partners. IDRC and Aga Khan Foundation Canada are co-funding this project.