The importance of early childhood education (ECE) to a child’s life has recently been gaining in prominence. In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals set “access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education” as a goal for all children by 2030. In the context of Zanzibar, this goal is being increasingly pursued by the government since pre-primary education (PPE) was declared part of basic and compulsory education in 2006 – but, as of 2018, non-governmental stakeholders still play a significant role in the actual provision of PPE or ECE (both terms are used interchangeably in this report).
The present study assesses the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of the Watoto Kwanza project, designed to address some of the key challenges facing Zanzibar’s PPE sector as of 2013. With funding by Dubai Cares, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), the Madrassa Early Childhood Programme – Zanzibar (MECP-Z) and the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) jointly implemented the Watoto Kwanza project from 2014 to 2017 across Zanzibar’s two main islands, Unguja and Pemba. In addition to evaluating the three key project elements of Watoto Kwanza – Training and Professional Development of Teachers; Conductive and Constructive Teaching and Learning Environments; and Support Systems and Networks – the research situates these within the currently changing landscape of ECE in Zanzibar and looks ahead to the future of the project’s outcomes. Finally, it proposes recommendations based on these findings at three levels: specific to Watoto Kwanza, specific within the ECE sector, and broader sectoral recommendations.
Samuel Hall took a mixed-methods approach, using qualitative and quantitative research tools, to gather solid and diverse data on the project outcomes over a period of one month (February/ March 2018) across eight districts in Unguja and Pemba. The information in the report is based on a desk review, over thirty key informant interviews (KIIs), twenty focus group discussions (FGDs), fifty-one school observations and a quantitative survey with more than 500 teachers trained by Watoto Kwanza. A workshop with key stakeholders was conducted in Zanzibar in May 2018 to further discuss and nuance recommendations.