UNESCO Chair in Early Childhood Education, Care and Development

UNESCO Early Childhood
Early Childhood Education, Care and Development - Stock Photo

The UNESCO Chair in Early Childhood Education, Care and Development (ECD), with CFGS Associate Fellow, Dr. Alan Pence as the chair-holder, was approved by UNESCO in 2008 with a primary focus on the promotion of capacity in sub-Saharan Africa for the care and well-being of young children. In 2017, with the 3rd renewal of the Chair, Pence proposed modification to a Co-Chair structure that would include a ‘next generation’ African ECD leader.  Prof. Hasina Banu Ebrahim, an outstanding early childhood scholar and Professor at the University of South Africa (UNISA), was approved as Co-Chair by UNESCO effective July, 2017.

The work of the Chair/Co-Chairs builds on work initiated in 1994 when Pence received an invitation from UNICEF to extend his work in support of ECD and community development with Canadian First Nations to country-level capacity development in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). That work involves collaboration at country and broad regional levels with: international and UN organizations; governmental and non-governmental organizations; tertiary institutions; faith-based institutions; relevant networks; and through those organizations, with community-based organizations to address country and locally identified priorities for achieving enhanced child well-being. Through varied initiatives over time, including residential seminars, SSA-wide conferences, an online graduate program, African scholars’ workshops and more, the work of the Co-Chairs has involved virtually all SSA countries, with approximately two dozen participating in two or more of the initiatives.