Southern Africa Regional Conference on Early Childhood Development and Education

The Southern Africa Regional Conference on Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) on the theme of ‘Quality Matters’ will be held from the 3–5 December 2013 in Pretoria. It will be jointly organised by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the (OSF-ECP).

The primary purpose of the conference is to explore and strategize around the dynamic and dramatic interplay between quality ECDE, inter-sectoral programming, the realisation of children’s rights and sustainable development.

Overall, the conference aims to provide an opportunity for knowledge exchange and sharing of good practices with a focus on how to increase and accelerate the availability of quality holistic ECDE programmes in southern Africa, particularly for marginalised and vulnerable children and families living in conditions of poverty or with special needs.

The conference seeks to meaningfully contribute to improved integrated and inter-sectoral coordination of ECDE in the region.

Specific objectives

  1. Facilitate a debate about what constitutes quality in ECDE services in southern Africa;
  2. Promote commitment and action to implement and sustain quality throughout all aspects of ECDE systems in southern Africa;
  3. Invigorate an effective multi-country and multi-stakeholder regional ECDE network; and
  4. Influence research on quality ECDE and sustainable development in the southern Africa region.

    Expected results
  1. Partnerships are harnessed which can advance an agreed ECDE quality assurance framework, network and research agenda for the region;
  2. A publication providing an updated country-by-country and regional understanding of the ECDE sector (outlining challenges, inspirational practices);
  3. An agreed framework for action on quality assurance at various levels and across various sectors in the region (including country level action plans);
  4. A plan of action for the formation of a regional ECDE Network; and
  5. Exploration of an ECDE research agenda for southern Africa.


About 150 participants will be invited to the conference, including:

(1)    National Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and/or Directors responsible for early childhood development, including from the education, health, gender, disability and social-welfare sectors from the seven southern African countries where OSISA’s ECDE programme operates – namely Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe;

(2)    ECDE representatives and civil society actors from the same seven countries, as well as South Africa;

(3)    Regional, Pan-African and international organisations and institutions working in early childhood development, including research institutions and academia (ADEA, ANCEFA, UNICEF, SADC, Save the Children, REPSSI, ISSA, ECDVU, HSRC etc.);

(4)    International and African ECDE specialists and leaders in ECDE policy, programming and children’s rights; and

(5)    Representatives of regional and international ECDE donors and development partners (ELMA Philanthropies, Child Foundation International, Roger Federer Foundation etc.).



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