Sankofa Book project
Sankofa is a principle derived from the Akan people of Ghana that one should remember the past to make positive progress in the future. The book Sankofa: Appreciating the past in planning the future of early childhood education, care and development (ECD) was inspired in part by a self-described ‘millennial’ ECD leader’s question ‘why he had not been informed about the history of ECD in Africa’ before undertaking such leadership. That question is equally valid at the global level: ‘Why does the world not know about how ECD is understood in Africa’, and indeed in virtually all other parts of the Majority (Developing) World?
This book seeks to address both questions: individual and global, with a hope to stimulate other regions of the world to tell their stories through their own, contextualized understandings. All of Sankofa’s 34 authors bring a wealth of experience to their chapters—85% of the authors are citizens of Africa and virtually all have decades of ECD experience in Africa.
Africa has had a long-standing history of organizing Early Childhood Development conferences. This history is captured through research by Dr. Patrick Makokoro on the history of ECD Conferences and Networks in Africa. One of the key actors, among others, is Prof. Alan Pence (UNESCO Tri-Chairs for ECD) whose work in sub-Saharan Africa commenced in 1994 when UNICEF invited him to work with them in promoting capacity for ECD. The invitation was based on Pence’s internationally recognized work with Canadian First Nations’ communities to develop their own community-sensitive approaches to ECD. UNICEF felt that the strengths-focused, culturally supportive, ‘generative’ approach he co-developed with First Nations would be effective in the Majority (Developing) World as well. Over time different programs and approaches to ECD capacity promotion were developed to address various key stakeholder groups in sub-Saharan Africa.
This research can be accessed here: https://tinyurl.com/2mv975d
The journey of ECD Networks in Africa can be traced back to the early 1990s with the formation of the Early Childhood Network for Africa (ECDNA) and the Working Group for Early Childhood Development (WGECD). These networks brought together ECD researchers, practitioners, funders, and parent groups working to champion the early childhood development agenda in Africa. Dr. Patrick Makokoro narrated the history of these two networks as part of his doctoral research (tinyurl.com/2mv97)
Over time, successor networks emerged. Indeed, in the 2010s two new ECD networks emerged: the Africa Early Childhood Network (AfECN) and the Inter-Country Quality Node (ICQN). The histories of those more recent networks await future researchers.
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