7 June 2024

The Right to Education Initiative, in partnership with the Africa Early Childhood Network (AfECN) and Oxford Human Rights Hub, organised an online training focussing on monitoring and reporting early childhood care and education (ECCE) from a human rights perspective in Africa with a focus on how to engage in advocacy with UN treaty bodies. 

The training was conducted in series for 3 weeks on the 9th, 16th, and 23rd of May and was attended by around 300 ECCE practitioners from civil society organisations and academic institutions, including a few from African education ministries. 

The training series began with an in-depth analysis of the status of ECCE in the region by Lynette Okengo from AfECN and with specific examples in Burkina Faso (by Franck D. Tamini, UNICEF), Ghana (by Eben Lartey, Early Childhood Network Ghana), Uganda (by Godfrey Ejuu, Kyambogo University), setting the context.   

As Lynette highlighted, although early childhood development has been recognized as a human right and an essential component to enhancing human development, 70% of young children in Africa do not have access to ECCE. The lack of adequate investment in ECCE, the increasing trend of private involvement in ECCE, and the lack of legal guarantees to provide free pre-primary education are some of the major factors that affect both the quality and equal access to ECCE.


After the regional and national presentations set the context, Prof. Sandra Fredman focused her presentation on the ECCE rights guaranteed in International human rights law and how these rights can be translated into national laws and policies, highlighting how UN human rights mechanisms can be used to this end.  The discussion, based on research conducted by Sandra and her team, indicated how the recommendations provided in the concluding observations of UN treaty bodies can lead to policy changes at the national level.

The second part of the training focused on monitoring ECCE from a human rights perspective. Highlighting the call made in the Tashkent Declaration for civil society, Rajakumari Michaelsamy, from the Right to Education Initiative, enumerated in detail the process and steps involved in monitoring ECCE. She also emphasized the importance of using human rights indicators in the monitoring process for reporting and advocacy to the UN treaty bodies.


The third part of the training concentrated on the various advocacy initiatives, especially on reporting to the UN Treaty Bodies.  Leire Ibáñez Larrea, from  Child Rights Connect, enumerated the step-by-step process of reporting to the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the role of NGOs in the implementation and monitoring process. The focus on the advocacy dimension was further enriched with the sharing of some country-specific best practices, analysis, and regional advocacy experiences:

  • Zambia’s experience in child rights governance and education collaboration for reporting and follow-up by Marie Busk Larsen, Save the Children.

  • South Africa’s ECCE advocacy for holistic, well-funded, inclusive, and quality early childhood development services by the ‘Real Reform for ECD’ movement – a network of more than 100 ECCE practitioners in South Africa, by Tess Peacock, Equality Collective. 

  • Monitoring report on the Status of ECCE in Uganda, by Jo Becker, Human Rights Watch. 

  • The key features and learnings in writing shadow reports to treaty bodies based on the experience of France – CESCR review, by Delphine Dorsi, Right to Education Initiative. 

  • Analysis of recent concluding observations and State report to the CRC focusing on Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Uganda, by Rawletta Barrow, Oxford Human Rights Hub. 

  • AfECN’s advocacy experiences with the African Union, by Elizabeth Gitonga, AfECAN. 

  • Advocacy experience for inclusion of ECCE in ACERWC’s draft General Comment on the right to education by Sandra Fredman, Oxford Human Rights Hub. 

ECCE practitioners who attended this training found it very relevant to their work. The training will be followed up by advocacy initiatives, especially with countries that will be reviewed by the Committee on the Rights of Child in 2024 and 2025.