NEWS: Aga Khan University Partnership to promote ECD in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands

May 5, 2023 | 7:35 am

Group photo of the FCDC and IHD team ©Aga Khan University Photo/Maureen Ooko
By​ Maureen Ooko, Communications Officer, Aga Khan University

The Institute for Human Development at the Aga Khan University (IHD), in partnership with the Frontier Counties Development Council endeavours to ensure that children in the Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) regions of Kenya have improved quality of life opportunities.

ASALs have some of the highest levels of poverty and record the lowest child development indicators in the country.

The Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) is made up of ten counties across Northern Kenya categorised as ASAL regions. The ten counties include Mandera, Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo, Lamu, Tana River, West Pokot, Wajir, Garissa, and Samburu.

Over the last few years, IHD has forged a partnership with the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) that promotes a mutually beneficial academic, programmatic, and research cooperation.

In a recent meeting to discuss the ongoing partnership, IHD Director Prof Amina Abubakar said, “We are happy to be the research and educational partner that can contribute towards efforts that promote early childhood development in the ASAL regions of Kenya. Through our partnership with FCDC we would also love to work with the county governments of the ten counties to share knowledge and resources based on our research work and work together towards the implementation of the same to ensure healthy growth and development of children in these regions.”

The FCDC CEO Dr Idle Omar Farah said, “The FCDC counties constitute sixty five percent of Kenya’s landmass however they only contribute slightly over four percent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The health indicators in these counties are also largely negative. I am excited that our partnership can help improve this situation.”

The partnership is also in line with our programme funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Aga Khan Foundation that seeks to promote early childhood development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

Outputs resulting from our partnership including publications and knowledge gained are made available through the ECD Workforce Hub that is housed and managed by IHD. The hub has a strong focus in enhancing child development outcomes for every child, but especially children from underserved communities.