ADDIS ABABA – The government of Ethiopia’s capital city today, announced the launch of a new initiative that aims to provide universal access to comprehensive early childhood development services for all children in the city by 2025.

Called “Children: The Future Hope of Addis Ababa Early Childhood Development Initiative,” the initiative will begin by targeting 330,000 low-income households. The initiative will introduce parent coaching programs through regular house visits by urban health extension professionals and social workers as well as expanding access to day care centers, preschools, outdoor playgrounds, and twice monthly access to health and social support services.

To improve all children’s experience of the city environment, Addis Ababa will see the development of 16 day care centers, 14 model preschools, 10 outdoor playgrounds, and 30 open roads on Sundays, which will provide safe spaces for children to play.

Wro. Adanech Abiebie, Mayor of Addis Ababa, said: “Early childhood development is a top priority for the Addis Ababa City administration. We
want to ensure that all children in this city have the best start in life, helping to create a better future for themselves and for Ethiopia.”

With nine key strategic areas, the initiative sets out to develop friendlier urban spaces for young children and their caregivers and to help to create equal opportunities for growth and development for all children in the city.

Recognizing the importance of nurturing care, or care which ensures health, nutrition, responsive caregiving, safety and security, social and emotional well-being, and early learning, the initiative will provide training and coaching for parents and caregivers.

Community-run early child development (ECD) centers will provide day care services and additional play facilities for children, encouraging children to learn through play and contributing to their social and cognitive development early in life.

With partners from five federal ministries, multiple city administration bureaus, and multiple international organizations, the initiative takes a multi-sectoral and holistic approach to improving ECD services in the capital city.

Dr. Kesete Admasu, CEO of Big Win Philanthropy, said: “We are proud to support this initiative that will build a strong foundation for Ethiopia’s continued development. The result of multisectoral partnership and coordination, the initiative will enable Addis Ababa’s children to grow up healthy, strong, and capable in a welcoming urban environment.”

Cecilia Vaca Jones, Executive Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, said:
“With its holistic approach, this initiative is designed to enhance Early Childhood
Development outcomes for young children and caregivers in Addis Ababa. We are honored to be a partner in this pioneering initiative.”

In addition to the direct services provided to children under the age of seven and their caregivers, the initiative will also see the establishment of a world-class ECD Center of Excellence. This center will be a hub that provides services such as training, policy advisory, networking events, and monitoring and quality assurance support.

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