Happy New Year to all of you! The advent of a New Year provides hope and impetus for fresh possibilities in the care and welfare of young children. I am delighted to be invited to welcome you to this new ZINECDA website and Blog. Talk about hitting the ground running!

I have been asked to share some thoughts on the trajectory of early childhood development discourses and provide a sneak peek of what lies ahead for the network in 2020. The idea of the blog came about as the Secretariat was pursuing ways of further engaging with members, partners…

ZINECDA Website and ZINECDA Blog

… and stakeholders within the early childhood development sector in Zimbabwe, Africa and the rest of the world. What a timely moment for ZINECDA to embrace this medium of communication, as discussions on topical issues have metamorphosed from monthly, quarterly and annual reports to partners and stakeholders to daily status updates on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp groups etc. This shift towards adding a blog to this basket of communication tools is also aimed at providing a platform that ensures more detailed reporting and communication than the 240 characters that can be found in a single tweet or sharing long compositions on Facebook or WhatsApp which communication experts have told us, is not the way to go.

THE ZINECDA BLOG

What can you the reader expect from the ZINECDA Blog? The Secretariat have laid out an ambitious plan of providing regular blogs on topical issues within the early childhood development such as early learning policies, financing for early learning infrastructure in Zimbabwe, teacher training and quality learning, school feeding programs, generating and sharing knowledge through research, updates on the Sustainable Development Goals agenda among other things. The Secretariat has also engaged with some key experts within the local, regional and global early childhood development sector who will provide “guest” articles on the blog, bringing the connection between local, regional and international early childhood practices. This indeed is an important way of recognising that the Network does not operate in a vacuum but is a part of a bigger movement of networks and institutions championing the early childhood development agenda from around the world. For instance, ZINECDA participates in the ongoing meetings with the African Early

 

Childhood Network (AfECN) and will be represented at the AfECN hosted International African Early Childhood Development Conference slated for October in Dakar, Senegal. ZINECDA has in the past year organized, planned and convened two engagements for Parliament Portfolio Committee on Education (PPCE) and two Civil Society meetings on early childhood development. The PPCE was focused on advocacy and raising awareness on ECD and for the Parliamentarians to lobby for increased funding of the sector from the public sector financing mechanism. This resulted in the increased allocation of funds in the 2020 budget. ZINECDA commissioned two research projects in 2019. Two research reports were finalized namely the ZINECDA Impact Evaluation and the Baseline Research on School Readiness which focused on SDG 4.2 reporting and financing. The impact evaluation advised ZINECDA to continue achieving more with little through use of a lean structure, voluntarism in provincial structures amongst other strategies to ensure that the organization remains afloat. These reports can be found in the Resources Section on the new website.

 

ZINECDA also influenced the development of the Early Learning and Inclusive Education (IEP) policies. ZINECDA was co-opted into the Early Learning Policy (ELP) Thematic Working Group by MoPSE in leading and reviewing the ELP which has gone for validation. ZINECDA also became a Board Member of the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe and through this, leading discourses in early childhood development in the country.

 

The Board in its last meeting of 2019 approved a restructuring exercise that is aimed at getting the work of the Network closer and closer to the early childhood development organizations and the children they serve. Beginning in February 2020, a series of consultative and reorganization meetings are going to be taking place across all the 10 Provincial Chapters to ensure that this restructuring process is being implemented as well as to ensure that the organization actively responds to the recommendations arising out of the ZINECDA Impact Evaluation Report. In
2020, the Secretariat will be working on creating a hub that enhances the capacity of our members to raise funds for their work, write narrative and financial reports, adhere to their internal policies and procedures as well as provide additional capacity for knowledge generation. The Secretariat will share further information concerning this exciting innovation.

 

It certainly looks like a promising and very exciting year if all the plans come to fruition. As we collaboratively work towards attaining the SDG’s and in particular SDG 4.2, the notion that it takes a village to raise a child becomes alive. We are grateful for the immense support we have received from partners and stakeholders and we wish you a Happy New Year and successful 2020!

 

Patrick Makokoro
Board Chair
ZINECDA

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