UNESCO-IICBA Hosts a Peer Review Meeting to Discuss Preparing Children to be Resilient Through Play

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) aims at the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs, lays the foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing and is an excellent time to begin to build resilience. UNESCO-IICBA hosted a peer review meeting on ‘Play and Resilience: A China-Africa Collaboration Project for Building a Peaceful and Sustainable Future’ on the 6th and 7th of February 2018. Representatives from the World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP), UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) in Harare, Zimbabwe, UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Abuja, Nigeria, and the Victoria Charitable Trust Fund along with members of the Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe project teams, professors and researchers from numerous Chinese universities, consultants and UNESCO-IICBA staff participated in the meeting.

© Jingxin, 2018.

The goal of the Play and Resilience project is to enhance young children’s resilience and potential to contribute to a peaceful and sustainable future, through awareness raising, tools development, capacity development and community relationship building. The main purpose of the workshop was to review some of the materials developed by the project teams, for the different countries to learn from each other and share best practices and also agree on a way forward. 

The Global Project Director for the Victoria Charitable Trust Fund, Dr. Maggie Koong stated in her opening remarks,

“On behalf of the donors, we all truly believe that children are the future, we have to invest, we have to ensure we have the professional input on it.”

Ms. Carolyn Medel-Anonuevo, UNESCO ROSA, Senior Program Specialist, also gave a brief introduction and reminder of the challenge at hand- how to prepare our children, who are the future of the world, to be resilient.

© Jingxin, 2018.

ECCE covers the ages of 0 to eight years old, an age group that is covered in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 4 on education, which is inclusive of all. Yet, some groups of children in many countries are not focused on, because there is no sufficient national capacity to reach them. These children are whom the project focuses on, those deprived of ECCE.

The project will address local contexts and needs through play, the language that children understand best, by developing quality teaching and learning materials for both teachers and caregivers and for parents and community members and also by complimenting government efforts.

© Ziaoxia Feng, 2018. 

During the meeting, project teams presented their needs assessment and exchanged ideas with other country teams. Two draft training manuals on play and resilience were also reviewed along with a framework for developing tools and materials on resilience building through play. Participants also visited two ECCE centers in Addis Ababa, where they were able to see firsthand what an ECCE center is like in Ethiopia and to interact with some of the teachers and children.

Upon returning to the UNESCO-IICBA office, Mr. Moyowa Alesin, Assistant Director, Academic Planning and in ECCE Desk Officer in UBEC, Nigeria pointed out that it doesn’t take a lot to have a good center; most of the teaching and learning materials in the Ethiopian ECCE centers were made from simple, local materials. The manuals and framework aim to catalyze on local materials and community practices for a holistic approach that incorporates all stakeholders. 

Read the Workshop Report