Study on Parenting for Early Childhood Development in Ethiopia

African granny together with her granddaughter

Extensive evidence on early development from conception to the time a child enters elementary school has made a compelling case to promote early childhood development in national and international policy and programming. Promoting early childhood development also aligns with international objectives such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.

Prior to strengthening and improving existing services, the Government of Ethiopia together with UNICEF and its partners sought to take stock of key indicators on parenting and early childhood development in Ethiopia and fill existing knowledge gaps.

The UNICEF Study

UNICEF commissioned AIR to conduct a study about parenting beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, and practices among parents and/or caregivers of young children from birth to six years old.

The study uses the Nurturing Care Framework as a reference point to understand the multidimensional nature that underlies early childhood development needs, primarily adequate nutrition, responsive caregiving, safety and security, early stimulation, and early learning and health.

For UNICEF Ethiopia, we are examining parenting beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, and practices as well as the availability and accessibility of services in these areas through a mixed-methods study design. The study includes surveys with parents and caregivers, focus groups with parents, and key informant interviews with service providers and policy makers as well as experts at the regional and national level.

Our field research includes participants in the Afar, Amhara, Oromia, and Gambella regions to represent various communities in Ethiopia, including its multiple predominant religions, urban and rural communities, pastoralist, refugee, and internally displaced persons.

The findings aim to provide a comprehensive overview of parenting in Ethiopia, which can inform the government, international development partners, civil society organizations and other stakeholders on developing a holistic parenting support intervention package.