Investing in early childhood development project

Nepal is 145th out of 188 in the HDI rankings. The situation worsened in 2015, marked by earthquakes that killed 9,000 people and destroyed about 600,000 houses, and political unrest that led to an informal blockade of India, with dramatic consequences for the country’s reconstruction and economy. The risk of natural disasters is still very present.

The country is undergoing major changes, particularly on the political front after ten years of internal conflict (1996 to 2006), followed by the adoption of a new Constitution in 2015 and, two years later, the transition to a federal system with the establishment of seven provinces and three levels of government: federal, provincial and local.

Although school is only compulsory from the age of 6, the preschool enrolment rate is growing: from 12% in 2000, preschool enrolment rose to 88% in 2018. There are three options for 3-6 years old: government-funded public school (primary) nursery classes that are free for parents; community nursery classes run by International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) and/or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs); and private nursery classes, which are relatively expensive and reserved for the better-off population.

However, these rising rates mask great disparities. There is a very irregular attendance, for example, in the municipality of Gajuri, 90% of public preschool pupils actually attend school and only 55% of them attend regularly. Besides that element, the low quality of preschool education in public schools is still a challenge; with a very low national budget dedicated (less than 3% of the education budget is devoted to pre-primary education).

Non-pre schooling is detrimental to children’s development and, more specifically, to the schooling of girls, who are often placed under house arrest to look after their younger brothers and sisters. Nepalese society remains a deeply patriarchal and unequal society where many see their rights violated, especially women and girls. In addition, families, especially the least educated, have little awareness of the value of pre schooling and the special needs of young children for their psycho cognitive development.

At the same time, mentalities, but above all lifestyles are changing, especially in cities and for families that are becoming middle-class: women have greater access to formal employment, the family nucleus is shrinking, and traditional models are being questioned. There is a growing demand for professional childcare facilities for very young children (0-3 years) that are conducive to their physical and mental development.

The direct beneficiaries of the activities are:

  • Children in the preschool classes targeted by the project, who will benefit from better quality and age-appropriate learning, a clean, healthy, protective and stimulating environment, quality educational games and toys: about 2,500 children over the 3 years,half of them in Kathmandu and the other half in Dhading. Among them, 150 are identified as being in great social difficulty and their families receive support in Kathmandu.
  • Mothers of the Gongbu ECD Center, who work in the “entertainment” sector and who will benefit from advice and referrals to social, legal, medical and even employment services, 30 women per year,
  • Mothers and/or fathers who will receive parenting advice for their children aged 0 to 6 years, in small groups in the communities or within schools, approximately 360 parents over the 3 years
  • The teachers of the 18 targeted preschool classes, the principals of these schools and their colleagues in 1st grade, who will benefit from specific ECD training and support to promote the importance of pre schooling; in all, about 54 professionals,
  • Early childhood professionals at the national level, who will have access to reference documents – practical activity sheets, parenting education modules, advice on identifying children at risk or vulnerable, etc. – on the website developed by the project, and who are estimated at 500 for this phase,
  • Mayors, vice-mayors and officials in charge of the education office in the municipalities, who will be accompanied to include the preschool issue in their annual action plans, 5 persons per municipality,e. 10 in total,
  • Communities of Tokha and Budhanilkhantha who will be reached by the awareness messages related to the importance of preschool education

Indirect beneficiaries are the brothers and sisters of the children directly affected, especially the older sisters, who have been freed from part of the care of the younger children and who will themselves be able to attend school more regularly, i.e. approximately 2000 additional children.

Summary description of the main results/activities/indicators of the project for Child Nepal

R1.1 Preschools for 3-6 years old are strengthened and autonomous

A.1.1 Supporting municipalities and CSOs in the establishment or improvement of community, public and private preschools

i/ Preparing for the empowerment of the Kathmandu social ECD Center (Child Nepal ECDC)

Since 2017, Child Nepal and PE&D have been running a specialised ECD Center to care of the children of women working in the ‘entertainment’ sector, who are stigmatised and poorly received in public structures, extremely vulnerable to abuse and often with behavioural disorders. This school is a gateway to public preschool or primary school and achieves very good results since 90% to 98% of pupils – depending on the year – then are enrolled in public schools. In addition, mothers benefit from psychosocial support and have the opportunity to leave the area that exploits them and where they are mostly victims of violence. We plan to maintain this school, which welcomes about thirty children per year, by reducing its structural costs and by preparing, during phase 1 of the agreement, its gradual self-financing (development by Child Nepal of a catalogue of paid early childhood training courses and obtaining a public label allowing it to benefit from public subsidies).

  • Direct beneficiaries: 30 children aged 3 to 6 years per year and their mothers; 90 children and 90 women in total.
  • Indirect beneficiaries: other family members, estimated at 200
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Monitoring indicators: 90 children enrolled over the 3 years; attendance rate: 70%

R.2.1 Parents have access to information for the proper care of their children. They know the needs of young children and how to meet them.

A2.1.1: Raising awareness among the general public: Broadcasting parenting education messages via radio, TV and the web

i/ Dissemination/Broadcasting of awareness radio spots and awareness messages via social networks in Nepal

Radio spots of 30 to 60 seconds (5 to 10 different spots) will be designed jointly by Child Nepal and Prayas Nepal. Child Nepal will lead to prepare the jingle in coordination with Prayas Nepal in Nepali and Tamang Languages. Prayas will lead to translate and record in Chepang Language. They will be broadcasted daily for periods of 3 months, every year on local radios (1 in Kathmandu and 2 in Dhading). Rapid consultation will be made with the parents groups to choose more popular radio in the local context.

These messages will be adapted to be broadcasted on different social networks (FB, YouTube, Instagram) on which Early Childhood pages will be created. Child Nepal will be in charge of the animation of the networks and supported in its editorial policy by the PE&D project team. Clips and stories will be produced in year 2 and 3.

  • Direct beneficiaries: 50 000 radio listeners and 3000 followers on social networks (SN)
  • Indirect beneficiaries: families of direct beneficiaries
  • Duration: 3 x 3 months for radio; 18 months for SN (2nd part of the programme)
  • Implementation methods: The methodology will be jointly developed once the project team is recruited in Child Nepal and Prayas Nepal
  • Monitoring indicator: number of broadcasts (810); number of listeners (50,000); number of followers (3,000)

A2.1.2 : Supporting parenting through awareness sessions in the target localities

i/ Mobilize groups of parents on the importance of preschool and strengthen their parenting skills.

A group of preschool parents is formed and/or strengthened in each target school. It meets 6 to 8 times a year, with the preschool teachers. The objective of this group is to co-construct a simple and practical charter based on children’s rights and listing in particular the DO/DONT to be done at home and at school with children under 6 years old. The mobilizers of the project will be trained upstream on the objectives of preschooling and parental education, simple and proven practices and group animation. Other teachers and members of the school management committee will be integrated into these groups and will be able to support the project’s advocacy on the importance of preschooling.

  • Direct beneficiaries: 425 fathers or mothers from 10 schools in KTM.
  • Indirect beneficiaries: the children of the family, i.e. about 1000 (hypothesis of 2 children/family at KTM,)
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Methods of implementation: the school sets up the groups and the project team supports them in the animation
  • Follow-up indicator: number of parents groups (18); attendance of groups by parents (70%)

ii/ Using annual enrolment campaigns to promote preschooling

The project mobilizers support the targeted primary schools to integrate the promotion of preschool education into the annual enrolment campaigns carried out by the primary schools. Simple brochures will be printed and left with parents.

  • Direct beneficiaries: parents (1000 families over 3 years)
  • Indirect beneficiaries: the children of these families, i.e. approximately 2400
  • Duration: one-off action every year
  • Implementation methods: enrolment campaigns are conducted by schools every year; the project team will develop and print an ECD and preschool brochure for parents and support schools in preparing the campaign. Child Nepal will lead the development and publication of the awareness raising brochures and leaflets. PE&D and Prayas Nepal will support to prepare the content. Child Nepal will be responsible to manage the printing of those materials which will be distributed both in Dhading and Kathmandu.
  • Monitoring indicator: number of brochures published (3000), number of families visited (800)

A2.1.3 : Identifying children in great difficulty and providing their families with psychosocial support

i/ Opening a social permanence in Child Nepal ECDC

The Child Nepal ECDC has a social permanence for mothers working in the “entertainment” sector. The ECDC team, trained in the psychosocial problems of these women and in connection with the mobilizers of the team, will counsel them and/or refer them to the services they need.

  • Direct beneficiaries: 30 mothers per year, 90 over 3 years
  • Indirect beneficiaries: the families of the mothers, estimated at 200
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Methods of implementation: the ECDC team has been trained to this group issues, it is available to mothers and offers a flexible welcome during the opening hours of the ECDC
  • Monitoring indicator: number of women counseled (90), referrals to services (180), changes in situations (70% improve their situation)

ii/ Train the mobilizers of Child Nepal in the Family Development methodology

The mobilizers/SW of the project are trained in the Family Development methodology during 3 days. The approach consists in accompanying the family to identify its main difficulties and then, to put it in contact with existing public or private services. The family is followed at home by the mobilizer for 6 months. PE&D notes high success rates: at least one problem has been solved by the family in 90% of the cases. Voice of Children will be paid as a consultant-trainer.

  • Direct beneficiaries: 6 people from Child Nepal
  • Indirect beneficiaries: the families monitored
  • Duration: 3 days + preparation
  • Methods of implementation: PE&D has in the past trained in depth a Nepalese association, Voice of Children (VOC) on the methodology of dynamic psycho-social accompaniment of families in great precariousness in Kathmandu. VOC will be paid as a consultant-trainer. The training will be organized jointly for Prayas and child Nepal team.
  • Follow-up indicator: comprehension tests (90% of knowledge acquired), satisfaction questionnaire (90% satisfied)

iii/ Listing of basic services

PE&D and its partners have been developing lists of services and actors to refer families in Kathmandu for more. They will be updated in the framework of the project.

  • Direct beneficiaries: the 150 families monitored in FDP
  • Indirect beneficiaries:referred services
  • Duration: 6 months per family
  • Implementation methods: the entire project team is involved in the consolidation and updating of reference services
  • Monitoring indicator: number of services referred by category (psychological support, legal advice, Micro credit service providers, vocational training, health services…and by zone) (min 100 for Kathmandu)

iv/ Train school teachers to identify children in difficulty

In the targeted schools, teachers will be trained to identify children in difficulty.

  • Direct beneficiaries: 20 preschool teachers
  • Indirect beneficiaries: the accompanied families
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Methods of implementation: A manual “Understanding psychosocial issues from the child’s behaviour” developed in 2019 by PE&D and a Nepalese association specializing in EC (SetoGurans) will be used; 2 sessions are planned for each group of 20 in KTM. The first one of 3 days in year 1, the second one of 2 days in year 2
  • Follow-up indicator: attendance sheet (90%), comprehension tests (90%), satisfaction questionnaire (90%), improvement of knowledge (90% acquired)

v/ Accompanying the families of identified children

The mobilizers/SW of the project will accompany the families of the identified children through home visits, listening, an action plan to solve the identified problems, and referral to services that can help them. The follow-up of a family does not usually last more than 6 months. It should be noted that no financial assistance is given to the family, however, they may be referred to organizations that provide scholarships or other material aid.

  • Direct beneficiaries: 150 families.
  • Indirect beneficiaries:surroundingcommunities
  • Duration: 2.5 years
  • Anticipated difficulties: multiplicity of problems/issue to be managed in some very difficult cases
  • Implementation methods: Simplified Family Development methodology based on the model of PE&D in Vietnam; Case study meetings will be held within the school to transfer the methodology to them and to better manage the most difficult cases
  • Follow-up indicator: Family progress grids (70% of families improve their situation)

R.2.2 EC professionals have acquired skills and are improving their practices

  • In Kathmandu Valley, 8 schools in Tokha municipality that have already been supported by Child Nepal will benefit from monitoring and parenting education; 10 other schools in Budhanilkantha municipality will be targeted by the project. These 10 schools in Budhanilkantha will benefit from material support for equipment and teaching tools from the project.; these 18 schools currently receive about 900 children per year in preschool education.

A2.2.1 : Improving the teaching tools of preschools

i/ Equipping 10 schools for a better educational environment

The project will finance the acquisition of equipment for 10 schools: with a rapid need assessment, support the equipment for outdoor games (balls, scales, bicycles …) and to equip the rooms adequately (cushions, blankets, posters, storage racks, games …). Child Nepal will keep on advocating managing similar support from the local municipality in the remaining schools of Budhanilkantha..

  • Direct beneficiaries: the 10 schools
  • Indirect beneficiaries:students
  • Duration: one-off action
  • Methods of implementation: the team works with each school to draw up a list of the equipment needed within the budget made available
  • Follow-up indicator: control grid for the presence of equipment in the classrooms

ii/ Training teachers to the production of teaching/learning materials

School teachers will be trained to produce or procure sustainable and appropriate materials.

  • Direct beneficiaries: 18 preschool teachers
  • Indirect beneficiaries:students
  • Duration: one-off action
  • Methods of implementation: The training will be ‘cascaded’: mobilizors will be trained initially for 3 days and then will lead sessions in schools (2 days per school). The objective is, especially for rural areas, to know how to make teaching materials from free raw (and local) materials (wood, bamboo, stones, maize…).
  • Follow-up indicator: 36 days of training, satisfaction of teachers (90%), material produced during training courses

A2.2.2 : Train professionals in early childhood (already in post or in a professional project)

Teachers in the targeted schools will benefit from in-depth training on a participatory teaching method adapted to preschool learning.

  • Direct beneficiaries: 10 preschool teachers and 10 from 1st grade
  • Indirect beneficiaries: pupils of the 10 preschool classes (1000 over 3 years)
  • Duration: one-off action
  • Implementation methods: this training will be delivered by a consultant specializing in early childhood training on the basis of a curriculum developed jointly with the project team. In Kathmandu (10 schools) a 7-day training will be followed in year 2 by a 3-day training for preschool teachers and 1st grade teachers. Upstream: the project team will receive training on the issues and importance of the preschool age at the beginning of the programme, with an orientation session on the project itself (3 days in all); principals and key members of school management committees will also receive orientation and training
  • Follow-up indicator: no. of training days (10+); attendance sheet (90%), comprehension tests (90%), satisfaction questionnaire (90%)

A2.2.3 : Create or extend virtual collaborative platforms for teachers

i/ Create, update and promote an online resource platform

The project will finance the acquisition of equipment for 10 schools: with a rapid need assessment, support the equipment for outdoor games (balls, scales, bicycles …) and to equip the rooms adequately (cushions, blankets, posters, storage racks, games …). Child Nepal will keep on advocating managing similar support from the local municipality in the remaining schools of Budhanilkantha..

  • Direct beneficiaries: Early Childhood professionals, estimated at 500 in phase 1.
  • Indirect beneficiaries:youngchildren
  • Duration: 1, 5 years
  • Methods of implementation: an online platform will be created, based on specifications developed by the project team, taking into account the existing (BOP website in Burkina Faso) and contextual particularities. A part-time resource from Child Nepal is trained to update the site and is in charge of its animation, in coordination with the project team. It also promotes the site on social networks
  • Tracking indicator: A resource platform is online; Nearly 1500 visits for 15000 Google impressions during the last year

R.2.3. Local authorities strengthen the legal framework for services and protection for young children

A2.3.1 : Advocate for strengthening the EC legal framework

During phase 1, the strategy of the project is to involve the authorities at the local level, the municipalities one (two municipalities – Tokha and Budhanilkantha). We will work closely with these actors to support them in integrating ECD activities into these plans. Indeed, there are national minimum standards for preschools, which are far from being met, to which Action Plans should contribute. In addition, municipalities have little knowledge of the financial resources that can be granted to them within this framework. The following elements need to be improved: upgrading and remuneration of preschool teachers (half pay compared to the other teachers), public subsidies for meals for 3-5 years old (currently non-existent), maintenance of equipment, and social support for the most disadvantaged.

During Phase 2, an advocacy strategy at the provincial and/or federal level will be built on the experience and results of Phase 1.

  • Direct beneficiaries: elected people and local government officers of the 2 municipalities, about 10 people
  • Indirect beneficiaries: schools and preschool teachers
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Methods of implementation : A full day meeting will be organized for the 5 people involved in each municipality to make them aware of the minimum standards and the importance of preschool education. Monitoring committees with local authorities will be set up Follow-up indicators: 1 full day orientation and at least 10 follow up meetings organized

The project is implemented jointly by Child Nepal and Prayas Nepal. Child Nepal will lead the project based in Kathmand and Prayas Nepal will lead the project for Dhading. The following key performance indicators are set for the entire project including Dhading part.

R1.1 (3-6 years): the specialized ECDC for children whose mothers work in the “entertainment” sector is ready to be approved and subsidized by the public authorities and a study on the needs of micro ECDCs in remote areas is laying the foundations for future creations.

R1.2 (0-3 years): a study on the need for micro nurseries/ECDCs in remote areas lays the foundations for future creations.

R.2.1. 70% of the parents questioned are aware of 70% of the messages that have been transmitted; parents’ behaviour towards their children has increased by 4 points /10

R.2.2 Trained professionals have acquired 80% of the messages transmitted; 50% of these professionals use virtual/online resource platforms

R.2.3. Local municipalities have understood the importance of ECD for the development of future adults and the country: ECD-specific actions and resources are included in their Annual Action Plans.

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