Southern Africa Regional Conference on Early Childhood Development 28th – 30th Lusaka Zambia
Southern Africa ECD Coalitions
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The Southern Africa Conference on Early Childhood Development was held in Lusaka, Zambia, from 28th-30th March 2023, with participation from 9 countries across the region. The conference focused on the theme of "Partnership for Better ECD Outcomes in Southern Africa," and aimed to take stock of the status of ECD in the region and to discuss concrete progress towards the vision and aspirations of the AU Agenda 2063 and the Global Sustainable Development goals (SDGs). The conference recognized the importance of early childhood development, especially the first 1000 days of a child's life, and the evidence-based arguments for investing in the early years, including returns on investment (ROI) and the cost of inaction (COI). The conference identified gaps in the current status of ECD, including inadequate financing, insufficient ECD workforce, low quality of ECD services, low access and enrollment in ECD programs, and high child caregiver ratios. The conference made ten resolutions, calling for enhanced allocation of resources committed to ECD, breaking up of silos, prioritization of the early years within sector plans, enhanced investment in community-level initiatives, promotion of a quality ECD workforce, promotion of broad partnerships and collaborations, design and implementation of inclusive ECD programs, creation of coalitions, full implementation of international childcare instruments, and promotion of the availability of quality ECD data and research evidence. The conference called on all stakeholders to take collective and complementary action towards achieving transformational and cost-effective change for young children and nations.