Quality of an early childhood program in rural areas of Zambia
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In 2004, Plan introduced the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) program in rural areas of Zambia. The goal of this program was to ensure that all children receive quality care and to prepare young children for going to primary school. This study provide a description of the quality of the ECCD program in practice and indicate how the quality of the program can be strengthened. In order to examine the quality of the program in practice, observations were carried out at ten ECCD centres. Since the program is community-based, the views of different stakeholders are included in this study as well. Interviews were conducted with caregivers, committee members, grade 1 teachers, head teachers and Plan staff members. The results of this study showed that there is a lack of quality within the ECCD program because several aspects that are relevant to achieve a quality early childhood program are not realized in practice. According to the participants, there is a lack of motivated and trained caregivers. Furthermore, the participants indicated that there are insufficient materials and facilities at the centres. The lack of these elements was also observed during the field visits. If more attention is given to caregivers’ training and the monitoring process the quality of the program can be improved. However, it is important that the community is not dependent on the resources of Plan Zambia and that they are able to manage the centres by themselves.