The Bangladeshi agro-based organization, BRAC-Liberia, has concluded a week long Early Childhood Development (ECD) workshop for 100 teachers and ten caregivers from ten selected communities at the St. Martin Catholic Pastoral Center from January 23-27 in Gbarnga, Bong County.
Project Manager for the program Benedict Sekey said his organization implemented the ECD Project for the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) to test new intervention approaches to early childhood development in Bong, Grand Bassa and Grand Gedeh counties.
Mr. Sekey said BRAC is a development organization dedicated to the alleviation of poverty by empowering the poor to realize their potential and bring about positive change in their lives.
“Our approach, therefore, is comprehensive with services in areas of education, health care, social and economic empowerment, finance and enterprise development, human rights and legal aid, agriculture and food security, as well as environmental sustainability and disaster preparedness,” Mr. Sekey explained.
He said BRAC-Liberia has launched successful programs in microfinance, health, agriculture, livestock and poultry, reaching over 640,490 of the poorest Liberians.
Mr. Sekey said BRAC-Liberia will develop community based early childhood development centers in the above listed counties to recruit children between the ages of 3 to 5 to prepare them for primary education, as his organization shifts from the old to contemporary ECD approach.
He narrated that BRAC-Liberia will work in ten communities in each county, targeting 300 children per community, and that the selection will be done by community residents alongside County Education Officers and District Education Officers.
Mr. Sekey further said the objective of the exercise is to see how impactful BRAC-Liberia can be preparing the children for primary school while encouraging their parents to be major players in their children’s education.
He said at the end of the pilot project, he anticipates parental involvement in ECD to change from one level to another, for an increase in community stakeholder involvement, and the development of a new teaching methodology.
He said a similar training took place in Grand Bassa County a week ago and another is taking place in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.
The ECD BRAC-Liberia Project Manager disclosed that his organization also distributed copy books, pencils and other school supplies to the selected communities in the three counties.
Assistant Minister in the Bureau of Early Childhood Development at the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Florence Allen Jones, lauded BRAC-Liberia for organizing the training.
Madam Jones said in the recent past, it was common for children older than six to be enrolled as beginners, which is no longer the case, and commended BRAC-Liberia and UNICEF for the initiative and funding, respectively.
For their part, participants at the workshop also thanked the two organizations, and the Ministry of Education for the training.