New partnership launched with Addis Ababa

Published March 30, 2021

Earlier this week the city government of Addis Ababa formally launched a new early years initiative – Children: The Future Hope of Addis Ababa – in partnership with the Bernard van Leer Foundation and Big Win Philanthropy.

The initiative aims to provide universal access to comprehensive early childhood services by 2025. In its first year, it will initially target 330,000 low-income households with health and social support services including parent coaching through home visits.

As part of the initiative, the city will develop 16 daycare centres, 14 model preschools and 10 outdoor playgrounds. It will designate 30 roads to be set aside on Sundays as safe spaces for children to play.

“Early childhood development is a top priority for the Addis Ababa City administration,” said the city’s mayor, Adanech Abiebie. “We want to ensure that all children in this city have the best start in life, helping to create a better future for themselves and for Ethiopia.”

Ethiopia is rapidly urbanizing. Addis Ababa’s population will soon exceed 6.5 million, about a fifth of whom are aged under 6 years, and it is expected to double in the next decade. The country sees investment in the early years as an integral part of its ambition to achieve lower-middle-income status by 2025.

The initiative will work in partnership with multiple federal ministries (health, education, labour and social affairs, transport, and women, children and youth affairs), departments of the city administration (including the Mayor’s Office, the bureaux of housing development and environmental protection, and the Green Development Commission) and international organisations (including UNICEF, the World Bank, USAID and WHO).

It aims to improve cross-sectoral governance, regulatory standards and data for decision-making. As part of the initiative, a new “centre of excellence” will be set up to provide training, policy advisory, networking, monitoring and quality assurance services.

“With its holistic approach, this initiative is designed to enhance early childhood development outcomes for young children and caregivers in Addis Ababa,” said Cecilia Vaca Jones, Executive Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation. “We are honoured to be a partner in this pioneering initiative.”