TRANSFORMING SOCIETY THROUGH EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

What is PAFEC

INTRODUCTION

Pakistan Alliance for Early Childhood (PAFEC) is a national alliance of Early Childhood Development (ECD) stakeholders in Pakistan. It is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) under section 42 of the Companies Act, 2017. This strategic alliance, which has been established as a result of untiring efforts made by all our partners, intends to serve as an open platform to promote holistic and inclusive ECD approaches and practices in the country through research and learning, experience sharing, policy advocacy, networking, awareness raising and professional development.

A distinguishing feature of PAFEC is that it brings together key public and private sector stakeholders, including the Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Training, National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Planning Commission, relevant provincial departments, academia, private foundations, researchers, individual ECD practitioners and academicians and implementing partners in all provinces and special administrative regions of Pakistan.

Vision

Our shared vision is to work for a happy, healthy, prosperous, socially inclusive and pluralistic society in Pakistan through Early Childhood Development

Mission

Our mission is to universalise access to holistic Early Childhood Development services for every child in Pakistan from 0 to age 8.

Objectives

The ‘Alliance’ will promote this mission by:

  • Developing common understanding amongst all stakeholders about concepts of holistic inclusive and multi-sectoral ECD practices
  • Engaging in policy dialogue and advocacy with the government to define key roles of its ministries(health, nutrition, child protection, education, and planning) in promoting holistic and inclusive development of all children
  • Providing forums for sharing knowledge, best practices, and experiences; strengthening capacities, mobilising resources, and promoting collaboration among ECD stakeholders
  • Facilitating stakeholders to secure grants and investments for developing and delivering innovative ECD services, material development and undertaking relevant research projects
  • Empowering Communities (parents, families, individual ECD practitioners, and civil society organisations) giving them awareness about the importance of ECD and connecting them with government and private resources from planning to implementation of ECD (Pre-natal-3)

The Alliance is governed by a high-profile Board of Directors, headed by Mr. Nasruddin Rupani, a business leader and philanthropists, as the Chairman. The Board includes serving and retired government officials, representatives of civil society organizations, academia, researchers and practitioners, who are making a difference in the fields of early childhood development, education, health, nutrition and community development. The Alliance’s secretariat is located in Islamabad.

Figure 1: Organogram of PAFEC

The key themes on which PAFEC will focus, include the following:

  • Policy dialogue and advocacy
  • Knowledge management
  • Networking & linkages
  • Capacity & institution building
  • Resource mobilisation

PAFEC will work on these themes through its General Body, member organisations and individual members from around the country. PAFEC will provide its members the following services:

  • Share latest research and knowledge on ECD
  • Provide platform to share best practices and success stories
  • Provide capacity building opportunities through engaging members in experience sharing/peer learning activities, technical workshops, seminars and conferences
  • Provide latest information about ECD grants and other funding opportunities
  • Engage members to develop and translate ECD material and as resource persons
  • Allow to participate in the Alliance organised conferences and seminars on subsidized fee
  • Opportunity to have free exhibition booth during PAFEC conferences and seminars
  • Networking and institution building
  • Share e-newsletter
  • Share e-newsletter and updates of member organisation through PAFEC Website and Secretariat

PROGRAMMES

  1. Policy Dialogue and Advocacy

Research based policy advocacy is a key part of the mission of PAFEC. Under this theme, we will work with the policymakers at the federal and provincial levels to review and improve existing policies, contribute towards developing an independent policy and legislation for 0 to 8 and generate momentum for achieving SDG target 4.2. The SDG 4 states that by 2030 countries should: ‘ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education’. We believe that SDG commitments to ECD are much broader than this education-focused target. Strengthening early childhood development is key to achieving at least seven of the SDGs, on poverty, hunger, health (including child mortality), education, gender, water and sanitation and inequality.

The policy dialogue and advocacy work of our ‘Alliance’ will focus on the following policy reforms:

  • Mainstream ECD in public health education system (first 1000 days, through public-community partnership, and 3-8 years in public schools
  • Drafting a national curriculum for ECD (0 to 8 years), as well designing appropriate courses for teacher training and certifications and enrichment material
  • Advocate for creating horizontal integration of the multi-sectors such as health, nutrition, child protection and education for achieving the objective of holistic, inclusive and multi-sectoral ECD
  • Advocate for designating Planning Commission as a responsibility centre for ECD multi-sectoral integration and budgeting

 

  1. Knowledge Management

“Investing in the early years of a human life is the smartest things a country can do”, says the World Bank. Early childhood experiences have a profound impact on brain development—affecting learning, health, behavior and ultimately, lifetime opportunities. The strongest evidence demonstrating the potential of ECD is coming from convergence of knowledge from brain research to teaching and learning, nutrition, health, and social, behavior, and economic sciences. Under knowledge management, our Alliance will systematically access global research on all dimensions of holistic ECD and transfer it to various audiences in a usable form. The idea is to create a critical mass of knowledge and awareness at every level, empowering and informing mothers, fathers, wider family, communities, and state institutions, responsible from policy, planning and service delivery. Specific actions under this program will include:

  • Arranging national, provincial and local level seminars, workshops and symposia to share global research, best practices and national experiences
  • Engaging with Higher Education Commission, universities, teacher training institutions, and research organisations to have a clear teacher training development(Pre-service & In-service) programmes in the road map of these institutions
  • Partnering with donors and NGOs to embed ECD approaches on development programmes promoted by them
  • Working with mainstream and new media to continuously build a pro-ECD narrative and constituency, and generally influence public opinion
  1. Networking and Linkages

This programme will aim to expand the Alliance by reaching out to all the stakeholders, from policy-makers and planners to public and private sector institutions, professional organisations, ECD practitioners, researchers, teachers associations, doctors, nurses, community health workers, media, academia, donor and development partners, as well as political, community and religious leaders. The Alliance will develop messages and content specific to culture, social, and linguistic contexts for communication and dissemination to a broader audience. Specific activities under this theme will include:

  • Expanding Alliance membership vertically and horizontally, by offering PAFEC membership to individuals, businesses and intuitions, policy makers and planners
  • Creating PAFEC chapters in all provinces and then going down to district and lower levels too
  • Formalising thematic partnerships with a variety of partners, to promote specific ECD activities; for instance, working with member organisations like RSPN to include ECD as part of their community outreach programs, or with AIOU to develop online ECD certificate courses
  • Providing strategic and practical support to partners in upgrading and up-scaling their own specific ECD programmes
  • Creating a network of ECD Champions, and starting an annual award and recognition programme to highlight the success stories
  • Creating common standards and business models for private and community-based ECD centers, and creating franchises and business networks for existing and new ECD initiatives
  • Sharing Electronic Newsletter with input from members that highlight case studies and experiences and learnings and circulating these to a large audiences/ stakeholder in Urdu and English languages
  • Providing access to high quality ECD resources on PAFEC website
  1. Capacity and Institution Development

To sustain the upward momentum in developing the ECD sector in Pakistan, professional and institutional capacity building is important. Professional capacity includes skills of direct practitioners, such as care givers, preschool teachers, nurses, and social workers. Equally essential is the capacity in knowledge of policymakers, programme designers, training institutions, implementing managers, funders and donors, and, ultimately, parents and community members. All of these must have enough knowledge of the larger system and their place in it to play their roles successfully. For this purpose, capacity building strategies for both practice and institutions must be an ongoing process to ensure sustainability at scale. Specific activities under this programme would include:

  • Designing a variety of capacity building programmes with a multitude of partners and Alliance members, and providing implementation and M&E support
  • Improving and upgrading existing capacity development programmes of the government, such as designing modules on holistic ECD subject matter and incorporating them in teacher, Community Health Workers, Nursing, nutritional, and pedagogical training programmes
  • Promoting ECD spaces in workplace and public institutions, such as hospital, training institutes, private and government offices, hotels, banks, corporations, etc., so that working and visiting parents can conveniently use these facilities for their children, instead of keeping them at home
  • Seeking capacity building opportunities, such as short, medium and long-term training opportunities for member organisations

 

  1. Resource Mobilisation

Systematically looking out for financial resources from all sources: government, donors, CSR and individual contributions to sustain PAFEC activities in the long-run. This may involve, but not limited to the following activities:

  • Responding to RFPs issued by donors and government with high quality proposals
  • Participating in public-private ventures and projects
  • Approaching corporations for CSR funds
  • Seeking crowd-funding opportunities for key programmes
  • Seeking crowd-financing for ECD centres by individual or intuitional members