Through investment in capacity building, accompaniment and institutional strengthening, CRS trained 96 sisters as ECD Master Trainers and 3, 147 other sisters in ECD.  They also trained 11, 806 care givers on Early stimulation, positive parenting, health, 1000 days’ nutrition, protection of children from violence and fathers’ involvement in ECD.

Improved Organisational sustainability through trainings in human resource and financial administration, computer skills, monitoring and reporting, proposal writing for local fund raising, and networking and collaboration with early childhood communities (traditional leaders, churches, schools, governments and non-governmental agencies); use of local and national media for awareness raising and advocacy in ECD.

After successful completion of phase one, the SCORE ECD II project kicked off from October 2017 – 2021, and will continue strengthening the capacity of sister institutions both technically and organizationally. This phase is aimed at preparing Catholic sister partners to fully take on the ownership of integrated ECD interventions in their respective communities.

In line with its capacity strengthening efforts, CRS organized a joint two weeks’ training of trainers’ workshop in Kisumu, Kenya, attracting participants from the three participating countries and from ACWECA head office. This workshop was aimed at developing a standardized M&E system.

During an earlier workshop that took place in Malawi in November 2017, it was agreed that they would use a common ICT4D approach, namely the CommCare platform. The overall purpose of the ICT4D deployment workshop was to jointly design a standardized tool on CommCare platform to track project implementation across the three countries.

And the startup workshop for Kenya in which ACWECA participated took participants through the roles and responsibilities of all the stakeholders involved in the project namely, CRS, AOSK, government, ACWECA and the congregations and how each of these stakeholders would contribute to the welfare of the child.

In Kenya the project is being implemented by Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya, (AOSK) and nine (9) religious congregations. And in Malawi it is implemented by the Association of Women in Religious Institutes of Malawi, (AWRIM) and four (4) Sister congregations while Zambia Association of Sisterhoods, (ZAS) implements it in partnership with six (6) Sister Congregations. Thus in all, the project is being implemented by 19 Sister Congregations and three National Associations and ACWECA as the Regional body.

While the general objective of the project is to ensure that children under 2 years in Kenya, Malawi and Zambia thrive in a sustainable culture of care and support, the strategic objective I of the project is to ensure that children under 2 years attain age appropriate development milestones. The project specifically covers children in the first 1000 days of their life (Prenatal and lactating women) – children from 0-2 year’s age group and involves 1,500 lactating and pregnant mothers.

In Strategic Objective II, CRS would be carrying out capacity strengthening by which time it would be transitioning to the congregations. It’s hoped that at this time the congregations would be able to run the projects without either CRS or their various National Associations sustainably.

At this level, CRS envisions ACWECA taking a wider role of advocacy so as to influence ECD at regional and international levels. Here ACWECA’s role is particularly believed to be critical in terms of fundraising opportunities for ECD expansion to other national associations, and may eventually be in position to prime multi-country ECD grants.

More so, the participating Sister Congregations and the National Associations are encouraged to work towards sustaining the ECD project at national and sub-national levels through:

Mobilising and confidently managing human, financial and material resources

  • Here for instance, sister organisations would need to take up development of resource mobilisation strategies
  • CRS developing and monitoring organisational capacity improvement plans for Associations and congregations, and
  • Congregations developing their own assessment with support from CRS.

And in the area of congregations networking and advocating for high quality ECD programs, the Sisters would need to

  • Participate in learning and exchange visits
  • Carry out formation and training of ECD champions
  • Associations and congregations developing advocacy and communication strategies around ECD programmes, and
  • Training sisters on advocacy, networking, communication and outreach programs, among others.

Another key area that the Sister Congregations and Associations participating in ECD would need to take on board is awareness creation by:

  • Taking lead in advocacy initiatives/activities in their respective districts/counties and countries
  • Participating in thematic work groups
  • Establishing strong relationships with other NGOs/other stakeholders, and
  • Communication officers offering support to write and edit success stories jointly spearheaded by the respective CRS and ACWECA communication officers.

Whereas most of the roles are specific to each stakeholder, some roles such as developing fundraising strategies, advocating for high quality ECD programmes/policies, developing success stories and carrying out monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning are cross-cutting. There therefore need to be proactive if we have to participate in programmes that will help to boost the implementation of ECD programmes