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26.05.2005 General News

Ghana hosts Conference on Early Childhood Devt

By GNA

Accra, May 26, GNA - Ghana would host the Third African International Conference on Early Childhood Development from May 30 to June 3.

The Conference on the theme: "Moving Early Childhood Development Forward in Africa," would focus on effective caring practices within the family and community, ensuring access and use of quality basic services and creating supportive policy environment for children. Thirty-nine African countries, 26 African Ministers, representatives from the World Bank, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and other UN Bodies would attend the conference.

The high profile attendance expected at the conference stems from the recognition of early childhood development as key catalyst to the overall development of Africa.

It is also expected to draw increased political commitment to early childhood development in Africa, facilitate accelerated action at country levels and feed into other development processes. A document on the conference made available to the Ghana News Agency by the World Bank, Accra Office indicated that: "A Way Forward Policy Document," would be developed and presented as input at the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) conference scheduled for June this year in Algiers.

The realisation of the critical importance of protecting the rights of young children to develop their cognitive, emotional, social and physical potentials has found expression in international declarations and frameworks adopted for the development of countries in Africa. These include: "The Convention on the Rights of the Child"; "The Cairo Declaration"; "The Millennium Development Goals"; "Education for All" and "The Declaration and Framework for Action of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children".

The document said following the adoption of these important declarations and frameworks, early childhood development had still not received the support needed in most national development plans and processes in Africa.

"Many children in Africa continue to die before their fifth birthday, they still repeat and drop out of the educational system because they are not ready and children in difficult circumstances are not receiving the needed care and support."

Topics to be discussed include: "Young Children Infected/Affected by HIV/AIDS", "Nutrition and Psycho-Social Development in the Early Years" and "Communication in Support of Child Well-Being".

Others are: "Parental Support;" "Maternal and Child Health"; "Toys as Tools for Early Childhood Development"; "A Cross-Sectoral Approach to Creating a Healthy and Stimulating Environment: Actions at the Community Level and Roles and Responsibilities of Government, Non-Governmental Organisations, Community based Organisations, Civil Society and the Private Sector in the provision of services. "

The rest are: "Building capacity, using indigenous knowledge to create quality programmes and the role of universities in promoting leadership and capacity in early childhood development."

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