The cycle of poverty begins early.
It begins when a pregnant woman cannot afford the nutritious food that will give her baby a head-start on healthy development.
It begins when that baby does not have access to critical healthcare, mental stimulation, and emotional support in the first few years of life.
And it begins when that child misses out on the foundation for learning through early childhood education.
“A solid body of evidence shows that the foundations for learning are largely built in the early years of life, before a child ever crosses the threshold of a primary school,” states a new report from UNICEF on quality early childhood education. “Children who fall behind in these early years often never catch up with their peers, perpetuating a cycle of underachievement and high dropout rates that continue to harm vulnerable young people.”
At least 175 million children are not enrolled in pre-primary education each year. In low-income countries, nearly 80% are missing this critical investment, deepening inequalities that will make it more difficult for this child to get ahead before they have even reached their fifth birthday.
“One of the greatest challenges developing countries face is the need to staff the pre-primary subsector with teachers who can nurture a love of learning in young children,” UNICEF states. “Qualified teachers are already in short supply, and yet a massive increase in their numbers is required as countries look to fulfill the promise of universal pre-primary education.”
Loom has seen this challenge time and time again in the communities we partner with in East Africa. Children growing up in rural or low-income communities want the same opportunities as everyone else, but the financial and transportation hurdles to access education are often too high. Our partners who make it their mission to open schools in these communities face the same challenges – finding quality teachers, accessing needed training and resources, and securing funding.
This is one of the reasons Loom has strategically chosen to invest in the sustainability of schools bringing education to the most vulnerable communities of East Africa. Our partners work in 6 nations in 86 schools, the majority of which are pre-primary.
Education is key to creating sustainable, thriving communities – communities where children are given the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty they were born into. Communities where parents can feed their children and families have access to medical care. Communities where innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity can solve the problems they face together. Education is the spark that helps make each of these achievements possible.
This year Loom is committing to further investment in education by equipping our partners with three new resources:
- Facilitator’s training to multiply Loom’s Celebrating Children Workshop
- Certified trauma training to equip educators and practitioners with tools for working with children from traumatic backgrounds
- Pre-primary teacher training in East Africa through a partnership with Syporah Acheing, a Kenyan social innovator who will be working in Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania to help teachers maximize resources and model the value of every child.
“Pre-primary education provides the highest return on investment of all education subsectors,” states the UNICEF report, “A World Ready to Learn.” Child well-being and development is the foundation for community and economic development, as capable children become the future of a healthy, prosperous and sustainable community. Our partners recognize the critical importance of investing in education, and doing it now. When we invest wisely in children and families, the following generation will contribute much more through their healthy and productive lives.
The cycle of poverty begins early, but so does the cycle of success. Together, let’s change the story of poverty in East Africa and invest in the future of these communities.