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Building Strong Beginnings in Senegal

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Posted on 2/25/2016

The Senegalese government has set an ambitious target of providing preschool services to 50 percent of children by 2025. However, the national government has only allocated 3 percent of the education sector budget for early childhood education programs. In theory, local governments are responsible for early childhood development (ECD) programs, but very few local governments budget for these activities.

ChildFund Senegal works to fill the gap with high-quality ECD programs. We support 95 ECD centers, which provide services for 5,000 preschool-aged children. ChildFund Senegal also sets up toy libraries for young children and playgroups for children under 3 and their parents. These centers, libraries and playgroups emphasize health, nutrition, child protection and parenting education.

ChildFund’s programmatic success in ECD led the organization to spearhead the development of a national network of more than 50 ECD actors in Senegal, called Réseau National des Acteurs pour le Développement de la Petite Enfance  (RENADPE). This network includes participation from government ministries, U.N. agencies, local government entities and civil society organizations. ChildFund Senegal serves as the chair of RENADPE’s steering committee.

RENADPE works to strengthen the quality of ECD programs throughout Senegal. Through networking and advocacy activities, RENADPE is building upon the Senegalese government’s initial support of ECD. The network is educating government officials on ECD needs and proven interventions. Since its inception, RENADPE has seen its advocacy activities result in increased resources for ECD at both the central and local government levels.