1. Transforming Pakistani Society through ECD & Informed Parenting Supported by UNICEF

UNICEF and PAFEC have agreed to collaborate and run a project that aims to transforming the society
through the promotion of Early Childhood Development (ECD) and informed parenting. The core
component of this project was to pilot the Parental Package for ECD and Key Family Care Practices
developed by UNICEF. The pilot area constituted the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

The project design was inspired by the notion that awareness of ECD and promotion of Key Family
Care Practices are central to transforming the society and to ensuring long term positive outcomes
for the future generations. The project also reflects UNICEF and PAFEC’s strategic partnership and
the latter’s commitment to involve various partners and broader communities including parents,
caregivers, service providers and professionals in the due process.

PAFEC is utilising the resources and support provided by UNICEF to forge alliances and impart
capacity building services of 20 implementing partners. With collaboration of implementing
partners, the plans were to prepare a group of 50 master trainers on the Key Family Care Practices
and ECD parental package, who will further train at least 750 frontline educators. At the grassroots,
the frontline educators will establish connections and educate 15,000 parents and caregivers, 100
community influencers and 200 youth leaders to promote adherence to ECD knowledge and Key
Family Care Practices, eventually benefiting around 30,000 children of 0 to 8 years of age.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, it was not possible for the implementing partners to carry on with project activities as initially planned and anticipated. The pandemic created uncertain conditions. To cope with the situation, majority of the partners had opted to start online sessions for FLEs to train them of key family practices in April, these activities continued during May towards their completion. The training sessions are being conducted using internet-based platforms(Zoom).

As of April, 12 out of 20 partners had completed their planned trainings for FLEs using online media. In the month of May, another 2 partners (Rupani Foundation and United We Excel) started online training for the FLEs. In line with the plans described above, some of the partners have already completed the online FLE training sessions. They conducted 8 to 14 sessions to complete FLE trainings on 22 ECD family practices. So far 600 Frontline Educators (FLEs) have been trained by master trainers.

2 Increasing and Upskilling ECD Workforce in Pakistan Supported by Foundation Open Society Institute

As part of its mandate Pakistan Alliance for Early Childhood (PAFEC) is continuously working to promote holistic development of young children in Pakistan. One of the key pre-requisites for promoting holistic Early Childhood Development (ECD) is to prepare qualified ECD workforce in the first place to provide quality ECD services to children and their parents. ECD workforce is ranging from initial caregivers, parents, teachers, health workers up to policy makers. PAFEC is working on this agenda from different angles including ECD policy formulation & advocacy, awareness of general masses, networking and capacity building of the above mentioned ECD stakeholders.

Recently PAFEC has been awarded a grant by the Foundation Open Society Institute(FOSI) to work on increasing and upskilling ECD workforce in Pakistan in collaboration with public & private universities and training colleges. The overall purpose of this project is to contribute to universalising holistic ECD/ECCE in Pakistan, by working with the public and private universities and Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) in four provinces of Pakistan, to build the next generation of ECD workforce, tailored to the National Curriculum of Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE). The expected impact of this project in the medium term is increased quality and quantity of ECD workforce in Pakistan.

The project will play a critical role in professionlising ECD sector in Pakistan by building capacity of public universities and teachers training colleges to develop well trained human resource for ECD. The main expectation is that some of the partner institutions will gradually become specialised centers of excellences in the field of ECD/ECCE, providing research opportunities to develop a strong link between theory and practice, which is relatively new in Pakistan. This initiative will also encourage many aspiring youths to join this sector, injecting new blood and making economic as well as quality academic impact for the society.