The World Bank today approved financing of to support Morocco’s long-term strategy to strengthen human capital. The assistance for Improving Early Childhood Development (ECD) Outcomes in Rural Morocco will fund the third phase of the country’s National initiative for human development, focusing on early childhood development.
Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Maghreb Country Director, said: “In Morocco, a child born today will only reach 50% of its development potential and productivity at the age of 18. Morocco’s future social and economic trajectory is conditioned by improving its ability to accelerate progress in accumulating human capital and its equitable distribution. The proposed program will support critical interventions to boost access to quality ECD services for rural populations in the country.”
The program is designed to back evidence-based approaches to child development, adopted by the Government of Morocco. Uneven development outcomes among children in Morocco’s rural areas have been related to their lack of access to quality early childhood development programs and their limited exposure to services focused on nutrition, health, and early cognitive stimulation. The program will therefore support a set of services in rural areas encompassing these.
Fadila Caillaud, Lead Economist and co-Task Team Leader, uttered: “The first years of life are a time of intense cognitive, social, and emotional growth. The experiences children have during this early development phase have the power to shape their health and well-being, both positively and negatively, for years to come. Investing in the health, nutrition, and education of young children is the best investment a country can make, and we are pleased to support this strategic initiative.”
Samira Nikaein, Education Specialist and co-Task Team Leader, stated: “The monitoring, evaluation, and coordination of early childhood development services is to be strengthened using the institutional mechanisms already in place. Monitoring the holistic development of children from birth until their entry into primary school is key to enabling ECD systems around the world to support vulnerable children effectively.”