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close this bookThe Condition of Young Children in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Convergence of Health, Nutrition, and Early Education (WB, 1996, 64 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentAbstract
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentAbbreviations
View the documentExecutive summary
Open this folder and view contents1. Socioeconomic indicators and trends affecting child survival and development
Open this folder and view contents2. The status of children In sub-Saharan Africa
View the documentAnnex 1: A list of sub-saharan African countries
View the documentAnnex 2: Key social sector indicators for child welfare
View the documentBibliography
View the documentAfrica technical department papers
View the documentRecent world bank technical papers


In Sub-Saharan Africa, a number of adverse conditions have placed children at high risk, including persistent and worsening poverty, an alarming pace of economic change, rapid population growth, increasing urbanization, a changing family structure, and growing numbers of orphaned refugees and displaced women and children from internal civil strife, among other things. For many children, primary school interventions are too late to prevent irreversible disability or to allow for the development of full adult capacity. The focus on a viable social policy for children under five is an urgent necessity.

This first product of the Africa Region's Initiative on Early Childhood Development (ECD) describes the condition of young children in Africa, calls attention to their plight, and begins to explore strategies to address their condition. The ECD initiative focuses on the neglected but critical developmental age group between birth and school enrollment and views child development not as an extension of traditional schooling downward, but as the 'holistic' development of the child. It envisages the integration of physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development as a necessary foundation for full growth and maturation and entails a three-pronged strategy: to generate and disseminate knowledge, develop prototype programs, and build institutional capacity, focusing especially on expanding the traditional role of the female child beyond that of caregiver. This report on the status of the African child will be followed by an assessment of the policy, programmatic, and financial efforts of African governments, NGOs, private citizens, and donors to address the needs of the young African child, as well as in-depth country studies and innovative prototype ECD programs.