Care for child development implementation in East Africa: Experiences from Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia

Early Childhood Development Network (ECDAN), UNICEF, Aga Khan Foundation, Lego Foundation, Africa Early Childhood Development Network

Early childhood is deeply influential in a child’s life trajectory. Children need nurturing care to enable them to develop to their full potential. Evidence demonstrates the critical role of parents and the importance of play in holistic child development making playful parenting an important component in children’s early years development. When development is delayed, or at risk, interventions, including those that incorporate play and communication between the primary caregiver and the child are critical. But how well are caregivers equipped to better identify risks and support their children’s development needs?

Globally, many models and approaches have been designed, implemented, and iterated to support parents and caregivers, including Care for Child Development (CCD). Developed by UNICEF and WHO in the late 1990s and updated in 2012, CCD is an evidence-based approach that aims to strengthen primary caregivers’ capacity to engage in play and communication activities to boost children’s motor, cognitive, and socio-emotional development. The CCD package develops the knowledge and skills of frontline health workers and volunteers to support parents and caregivers with meaningful ways to adopt positive, responsive, and playful relationships with their children.

This webinar, informed by both detailed case studies developed by the Aga Khan Development Network and UNICEF programme implementation in Zambia with the support of the LEGO Foundation, provided a unique opportunity to engage with and understand the experiences of government, development partners, civil society, frontline health workers, and parents in Eastern and Southern Africa. What has worked? What has been adapted? What has been learned? And, perhaps most importantly, what does this mean for parents and children?


  • Dr. Jill Popp — Senior Research Specialist, the LEGO Foundation
  • Maniza Ntekim — Regional Adviser, ECD, UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO)
  • Josie Ferla — Senior Programme Manager of Early Childhood Development, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), Tanzania
  • Given Daka — Early Childhood Development/Education Specialist, UNICEF Zambia
  • Christopher K. Wanje — Community Health Volunteer, Kilifi County, Kenya
  • Mwanamkasi Ali Said — Parent, Kilifi County, Kenya

A recording of the event is accessible here.