Principal Investigator: Dr. Honorati Masanja
Project leader/ Coordinator: Dr. Esther Elisaria
Project Administrator: Mary Irema
Funding Partner: Stockholm University
Start date: Aug. 1, 2023
End date: July 31, 2025
Research to inform innovative scalable Early Childhood Development programming for the next generation - "Kizazi Kijacho"
The "Kizazi Kijacho" (The Next Generation) program aims to support the National Multi-sectoral Early Childhood Development Programme (NM-ECDP) in designing cost-effective scalable integrated Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs. The generated dataset will help to develop a comprehensive understanding of how children from the poorer parts of Tanzania develop from conception until age 5.
Early Childhood Development (ECD) is defined as the period of rapid and critical development from conception to 8 years. For children to fulfill their development potential, five components of nurturing care are critical. These components include good health, adequate nutrition, responsive caregiving, safety and security, and opportunities for early learning.
Through the program, implementors seek to improve the measurement of ECD and its determinants, refining the understanding of human development in early years as well as parental practices and behavior.
The results will pinpoint critical stages in a child's early life when specific domains develop, highlighting when specific inputs such as nutrition and stimulation are most important. In addition, this study will gather evidence for designing early interventions, holistic parenting programs, and sustainable delivery of high-quality ECD services at scale through community health workers.
According to recent data, only 47% of Tanzanian children aged 24-59 months living with their biological mother are on track in health, learning, and psychosocial well-being. The developmental on-track percentage varies to that in Zanzibar which is higher (60.8%). Additionally, the 47% of Tanzanian children on track decreases with age from 58% of children aged 24 35 months to 36% of children aged 48-59 months.
To address these challenges and fill the existing knowledge gaps, the Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES), Yale University, University of Chile, FAIR (NHH Norwegian School of Economics) and Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), in collaboration with implementing partners D-tree International, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and EDI Global, are carrying out the ECD research program in Tanzania entitled “Kizazi Kijacho”.
Primarily, the program seeks to test innovations that will address challenges that hinder the development track in health, learning and psychological well-being of young Tanzanian children who live with their biological mothers.
The program will carry out a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in the Dodoma region (will include 387 communities, 258 health dispensaries, and 8 district councils) testing the cost-effectiveness of a parenting program, an Unconditional Cash Transfer program and a program combining these two. Trials will be carried out by Community Health Workers (CHWs) and guided by an innovative digital application.
The longitudinal study dataset generated through this program will offer a detailed understanding of how children from the poorer parts of Tanzania are developing from conception until age 5 in this era of massive economic change. The yielded evidence will advance action for policy makers, donors and practitioners on how to design cost-effective, scalable, sustainable, integrated ECD programs in low-income settings to ensure that they scale and have maximum impact.
Supplemented by sizable efforts to disseminate research findings to relevant stakeholders and decision-makers, the research also has the potential to strengthen ECD policy and programming in LMICs more broadly, thereby helping to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
As an implementing partner, Ifakara will provide technical expertise at all levels of the project, connect the research team with government authorities, contribute to publications and attend meetings and dissemination events. The project will be led by Ifakara scientists, Drs. Honorati Masanja and Esther Elisaria, serving as the Country's Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator, respectively.