Early Childhood Development Virtual University (ECDVU) – Sub-Saharan Africa is essentially a coalition of local, regional, and international organizations that support a variety of educational activities and a three-year Masters degree, a one-year Professional specialization Certificate program, and a one-year Graduate Diploma program in collaboration with local universities. Those programs are fully accredited and a part of the School of Child and Youth Care, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia in Canada. Their mission is to “further develop African Early Childhood Development (ECD) leadership capacity as a key strategy in support of child, family, and community well-being and broader social and economic development.”
There is a webpage devoted to 27 Masters’ thesis done in 2004 by the graduate students in ECDVU. The countries represented in the 27 research projects are: Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, The Gambia, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The research topics represent a wide range of local and regional needs such as:
*studying the need for training of their ECD staff; leadership skills training for administrators;
*developing a process for local staff to maintain, manage, and own their preschools; how to maintain communication via newsletters;
*piloting whether a Western-based Inclusive Quality Assessment (IQA) can be utilized appropriately and suitably in a non-Western culture;
*assessing of the caring practices in two orphanages and nutrition training program for their staff;
*studying the coordination and supervision of their early childhood development programs;
*facilitating implementation of national policies to ensure efficient and effective care for young and vulnerable children in Malawi;
*studying how experiential learning benefits young children in Malawi and how to apply their practices to other villages;
*studying parents’ perspectives of the ECD needs in their local communities in Ghana;
*documenting endangered indigenous stories and re-telling them in ECD centers in The Gambia, Ghana, Malawi, and Lesotho; the conclusions were that parents needed to tell those stories at home to prepare them for storytelling at school.
*involving fathers in ECD programs; studying effective school and parent collaboration; how single mothers interact and stimulate their children; how to support working families;
*which ECD models prepare children better for school in Kenya;
*supporting grandparents in taking care of children affected by HIV/AIDS;
*utilizing community resources for ECDs in Eritrea.
The list of research topics represent the same issues that we have in the United States. They have the same concerns for quality administration of early childhood development centers, provision of trainings for staff, and utilization of community resources. They also look at how fathers, parents, and grandparents can help with their ECDs through more collaboration and training. They even have cultural issues where they would need to evaluate a Western criteria. They express concern that their tribal indigenous stories are being lost because children are no longer interested in them.
I always forget how universal such issues are; and this serves as a reminder that we all have similar concerns for our children families, and the communities.
ECDVU.org. (2005). Major Projects and Theses. Early Childhood Development Virtual University. Retrieved June 2015 from: http://www.ecdvu.org/ssa/major_reports.php
ECDVU.org. (2005). ECDVU Sub-Saharan Africa: Mission Statement. Early Childhood Development Virtual University. Retrieved June 2015 from: http://www.ecdvu.org/ssa/index.php
ECDVU.org. (2005). ECDVU Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) Program Overview. Early Childhood Development Virtual University. Retrieved June 2015 from: http://www.ecdvu.org/ssa/index.php