ANEER National Initiative for Early Childhood Education

Project Representative
Rita El Kadiri
Creation Date: 2015
Headquarters: Morocco
Geographical Reach: Morocco - North of Africa
Nature and number of beneficiaries: Community based model for Early Childhood Education in rural areas - more than 8000 beneficiairies
Contact

ANEER National Initiative for Early Childhood Education

About the Project

Since 2015, Zakoura Foundation develops an original community-based model to offer children living in rural areas a free and quality Early Childhood Education (ECE).

The community-model for preschool is very distinctive from other preschool programs as it entails inclusiveness, innovation and sustainability. Zakoura’s community-based preschools are indeed a threefold formula that include: an ECE program for children aged 4 to 6, a parental education program coupled with awareness modules designed to make mothers, fathers and broader communities familiar with early childhood stakes, and finally a capacity-building program for local associations, as the latters are the ultimate guarantors of ANEER model sustainability.

The parental education is an innovative program conceived in collaboration with UNICEF, which also funded the two pilot ANEER projects.

For each school an educator and an assistant educator are recruited locally and trained by Zakoura Academy (+300 hours of initial and continuous training). Educators are particularly empowered as they represent pivotal actors between parents, primary school teachers and the larger community.
 

Context and Issue

In Morocco, the absence of a universal pre-primary school system deepens the social gap between the most and less well-off populations.

Preschool offer is actually available for only 59,7% of children. Yet, the great territorial and gender-based disparities depict an even more alarming situation. In fact, each year, 500 000 children are deprived of their right to a preschool education. In marginalized rural areas, only 35.7% of children aged of 4 to 5 years old benefit from a preschool education and only 25.5% of them benefit from non-traditional preschool’s program. Little girls are the most affected by this low level of pre-schooling. And when nontraditional preschool programs are available, there is a great heterogeneity both in terms of curriculum content and regarding practices.

Notwithstanding the political will for generalizing ECE, public institutions fall short of financial resources as well as of policy-based evidence for preschool programs that can be appropriate for specific national contexts, such as that of Morocco and many other countries facing similar situations regarding ECE (in MENA and Sub-Saharan Africa).

Solution and Impact

Generalizing free and quality Early Childhood Education and cares while enhancing the most vulnerable groups capabilities’, in rural areas, is the cornerstone of human development in Morocco. Zakoura Foundation decided to launch ANEER as its flagship project precisely to provide such a proven model that offers preschool education at a very competitive cost (0,5$ a day per child) without compromising high pedagogical standards and while guaranteeing sustainability through community-development mechanisms. In fact, ANEER is meant to jumpstart Early Childhood Education universalization through a participatory approach that empowers local communities and train them to become responsible for preschool development and sustainability.

So far, Foundation Zakoura implemented pre-primary programs in 110 schools in 8 regions of Morocco. The results are already outstanding: students’ attendance reached 95% with a dropout rate of less than 1%. Parents’ attendance in workshops reached 83%. And most importantly, 100% of children who access ANEER’s pre-school program register into primary school. So far, 61 ANEER programs were implemented. They benefited 4500 children, 4054 parents and 60 local associations.

Another compelling outcome of Fondation Zakoura’s capacity building is the sustainability of the pre-schools created: the majority is still active and continues to welcome kids every year with an even greater commitment thanks to empowered local actors.

ANEER has two impact studies in the pipeline. The first is a study, with UNICEF's support, evaluate how ANEER’s parental education programs are affecting attitudes and behavior towards pre-school education. The second is a randomized control study that will analyze how ANEER’s pre-school graduates perform in primary school relative to their peers.

Future Developments

Fondation Zakoura is now looking for funding to reach 500 schools and benefit to 50 000 students and 25 000 mothers. This significant scaling-up across Morocco is meant to serve as an evidence-based policy for the Moroccan government and as a pilot for countries of the region in a-like situation regarding Early Childhood Development and Education.

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