Thanks to the generous funding of Henri Lambert, War Child implemented an Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme in Iraq and Jordan. High quality ECD services offer numerous long-term benefits for children, extending into adulthood. The programme focused on vulnerable children in disadvantaged communities and refugee camps by offering high quality ECD sessions and a comprehensive caregiver support package. This was aimed at providing boys and girls with care, and pre-primary education and helping parents create a home-environment that is conducive to learning. The programme also provided psychosocial support to children and parents, thus assisting them with dealing with emotional difficulties. The learning and recommendations from this project were also used in War Child’s advocacy efforts to engage with global ECD actors, policy makers and donors and influence the sector.
Early Childhood Development (ECD) plays a crucial role in children's education, particularly in conflict settings where it serves as a protective factor against the negative impacts of conflict. This is especially relevant for the internally displaced families in Iraq and Syrian refugees in Jordan, who lack access to public ECD services and face financial constraints. In Iraq, the aftermath of conflict, in addition to massive destruction and limited humanitarian funds, has resulted in a dire lack of ECD services, with only 2% of children up to the age of 5 receiving any form of ECD. In Jordan, despite being a stable refugee-hosting country, the government's ability to provide early years education for the 650,000 Syrian refugees remains severely constrained. Plans to make kindergarten mandatory have been delayed due to the pandemic, leaving a significant gap in ECD provision, especially for Syrian children in areas where War Child operates.
This Impact Evaluation Report centers on the extensive assessment of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme in Iraq and Jordan, employing the IDELA Child Assessment as the primary tool and insights from various stakeholders. The study highlights substantial enhancements in children's developmental outcomes, encompassing social-emotional learning, literacy, numeracy, and motor skills. It focuses on the program's impact on children's learning outcomes and effectiveness in enhancing well-being for both children and caregivers. Noteworthy success is attributed to targeted interventions, caregiver support, and psychosocial interventions, as well as adaptive learning strategies and innovative approaches. It concludes by advocating for the global importance of ECD programs, emphasizing their relevance in post-conflict settings, sustained partnerships, scalability potential, and community-driven innovations.