Panafrican News Agency

WB supports access to early childhood development services in Morocco

Rabat, Morocco (PANA) - The World Bank has approved a US$450 million loan to support Morocco’s long-term strategy to strengthen human capital, it was officially disclosed here on Saturday.

The loan for Improving Early Childhood Development (ECD) Outcomes in Rural Morocco will fund the third phase of the country’s National initiative for human development, focusing on early childhood development.

“In Morocco, a child born today will only reach 50% of its development potential and productivity at the age of 18. Morocco’s future social and economic trajectory is conditioned by improving its ability to accelerate progress in accumulating human capital and its equitable distribution,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Maghreb Country Director. “The proposed program will support critical interventions to boost access to quality ECD services for rural populations in the country.”

The programme is designed to back evidence-based approaches to child development, adopted by the Government of Morocco. Uneven development outcomes among children in Morocco’s rural areas have been related to their lack of access to quality early childhood development programmes and their limited exposure to services focused on nutrition, health, and early cognitive stimulation. The programme will support a set of services in rural areas encompassing these.

“The first years of life are a time of intense cognitive, social, and emotional growth. The experiences children have during this early development phase have the power to shape their health and well-being, both positively and negatively, for years to come,” said Fadila Caillaud, lead economist and co-task team leader. “Investing in the health, nutrition, and education of young children is the best investment a country can make, and we are pleased to support this strategic initiative.”

The monitoring, evaluation, and coordination of early childhood development services is to be strengthened using the institutional mechanisms already in place.

“Monitoring the holistic development of children from birth until their entry into primary school is key to enabling ECD systems around the world to support vulnerable children effectively,” said Samira Nikaein, education specialist and co-task team leader

“Inequities in the development outcomes of children in rural areas reflects the lack of access to services, as well as limited exposure to nutritional and medical care and early childhood education. The program will therefore support education, health, and nutrition services in rural areas,” said Luc Laviolette, Human Development Programme leader and co-task team leader.

-0- PANA AR 6June2021