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World Bank Support for Early Childhood Development: Case Studies from Kenya, India, and the Philippines

Balachander, Jayshree
World Bank, caregivers, case studies, child development, childhood, children, cost effectiveness, development projects, education, financial economics, households, nutrition, India, Kenya, Philippines
The World Bank's portfolio of early childhood development projects is large (more than US$600 million) and is rapidly growing as a result of a recognition that early childhood is a crucial phase of human development, and that integrated health, nutrition, and stimulation of young children can have substantial economic benefit. the current conceptual framework underlying the World Bank's support for early childhood development is loosely defined as including all interventions directed at children or their caregivers to promote child development, preferably integrated as a package of health, nutrition, and early education services and targeted (but not exclusively) to the poorest households and including partnerships with other providers of such services. This paper analyses three World Bank-financed early childhood development projects in Kenya, India, and the Philippines and the issues arising from the design and approach to early childhood development in the projects. the key challenges for World Bank support to early childhood development are the following processes: developing a strong conceptual framework, delivering properly sequenced and truly integrated services at the level of the beneficiary, assuring that the poorest families are reached, providing adequate support to community-based workers, designing optimal, cost-effective interventions, measuring effectiveness, ensuring sustainability, and making partnerships work.