Tanzania’s First ECD National Forum
Collaboration is in the works in Tanzania! It is an exciting time to be supporting early childhood development (ECD) in Tanzania, as a major push for collaboration among philanthropic donors, Tanzanian government ministries, bilateral and multilateral agencies, and local partner organizations is starting to bring focus and important new resources to ECD. The first Biennial Tanzanian National Forum on Early Childhood Development will be held in Arusha from the 21st to 23rd of February, 2012. The Better Way Foundation will actively participate at the forum.
Sponsored by the World Bank, UNICEF, Bernard van Leer Foundation, the Government of Tanzania, and the Irish non-governmental organization Children in Crossfire, the forum will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders, including high-level political leaders, international funders, local civil society organizations, and more. Important work for children is ongoing, and more is planned across the country; much of it is unknown to others working on ECD. This forum will provide an opportunity for the Tanzanian government to present its plans for expanding its ECD work through a variety of ministries, identify opportunities for increased collaboration and support, and establish stronger mechanisms for exchanging knowledge.
Foundations such as Better Way are well-placed to invest in innovative new ways to advance their causes, and can punch above their weight when they do so. By coordinating with other donors, Better Way can further establish its unique value in the targeted regions of the country where it works. A pre-forum meeting of foundations interested in Tanzanian ECD will seek to develop specific plans for collaboration among the participating philanthropic donors. As a relatively small donor in Tanzania, Better Way’s limited geographic focus within the country allows it to play the role of a relatively big fish in a small sea, and makes it vital that lessons from elsewhere in Tanzania be identified and applied in the Better Way target districts of Mwanza and Kagera Regions. Stronger networks of funders can help facilitate this knowledge sharing.
Expected to attend the forum are several Better Way grantees who will advocate for community-based approaches to ECD. To the extent that the forum brings communities and the government closer, and incites productive discussion — that lead to action plans — about overcoming real challenges, it will be a great success.