With the growth of ECD worldwide, practitioners of ECD have formed alliances, networks and interest groups in many countries and regions. These formal and informal networks have benefited the participants; organisations and individuals, in many ways as is the case with “networking” in any field. Almost three decades ago in Pakistan, many NGOs and other ECD stakeholders started doing a great job of serving the developmental needs of their target children. Most of these efforts and interventions were based on individual goals and aspirations of various ECD organisations without much formal networking and mutual support, although there were informal communication processes in place whereby most players knew about the programmes, challenges and successes of various ECD organisations in Pakistan. In 2013, Rupani Foundation in collaboration with some other key organisations decided to form an ECD network for Pakistan. A series of meetings held with ECD stakeholders in various parts of the country to deliberate on the need, purpose, mission, goals and objectives of the Network. As a result of detailed consensus developed, the Network was formed under the name of Early Childhood Development Network, Pakistan(ECDN,P). It was initially registered under the Society’s Act 1860 in Sindh Province. From 2014 to 2017 the following activities were carried out under from the Network
- It organised the 1st National Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education & Professional Training and other partners. Around 500 registered delegates including senior government officials from federal and provincial governments, ECCE experts, academicians, researchers, practitioners, planners, health professionals, teachers and representatives of national and international NGOs participated in the Conference. The conference came up with some recommendations upon which the Network along with other partners worked on.
- A series of consultative/advocacy sessions were organised in the provinces with financial support from Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI), involving key stakeholders of ECD including the government ministries.
- A directory of ECD stakeholders from across the country was developed.
- A bi-monthly e-newsletter was initiated which is still being circulated amongst all the stakeholders and members.
- The Network participated in the formation of Education Policy 2017; review of the ECE Curriculum and material development in line with the curriculum guidelines.
In December 2018, the Network was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), under section 42 of the Companies Act, 2017 under the name of Pakistan Alliance for Early Childhood(PAFEC). In continuation of the work being started under ECDNP, the ‘Alliance’ conducted several capacity building sessions for its members, developed linkages with government, donors and other ECD stakeholders, participated in talk shows on radio and television to create awareness about ECD, participated in the ECD Policy and Curriculum Development workshops and organised a two-day International Conference on ECD in September 2019 in collaboration with Open Society Foundation(OSF) and other key partners.