On Thursday, UNICEF Egypt and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Middle East and North Africa (J-PAL MENA) at The American University in Cairo (AUC) co-hosted a symposium titled “Early Childhood development: Guiding investments in long-term human capital development in Egypt”.
In her remarks, Minister of Social Solidarity Dr. Nevine El-Kabbag, who joined UNICEF and J-PAL MENA to discuss evidence on the early childhood development, said, “The Ministry of Social Solidarity has a mandate to promote ECD in Egypt. We approach it from a social protection aspect, to develop a comprehensive and multi sectoral approach towards child cognitive and social development."
"We look at it not just through an education lens but to engage and work with caregivers and children to promote a social justice angle and promote long-term human capital development,” added El-Kabbag.
On his part, Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt pointed out that “every child has a right to the best start in life, healthy development and learning. UNICEF’s work on early childhood development is based on what is essential for a child’s development: nurturing care, good health and nutrition together with a stimulating and safe environment.”
Also in this regard, Hopkins indicated that his institution is closely working with the Ministry of Social Solidarity and development partners to build a comprehensive Early Childhood Development Strategy and to leverage partnerships for children.
The Professor at Paris School of Economics and Co-Chair of the Health sector at J-PAL Global Dr. Karen Macours noted that the symposium aim at encouraging early childhood stimulation from parents and caregivers can improve children’s cognitive development.
According to UNICEF, the seminar is the sixth in the Global Evidence for Egypt Spotlight Seminar Series, which bring together Egyptian policymakers and J-PAL affiliated professors in a discussion about how to tackle pertinent policy issues in Egypt. During each seminar, policymakers highlight a particular development priority in Egypt. J-PAL affiliated researchers frame the priority from a global perspective and offer evidence-informed insights for improving policy and program design.