Improving Child Development and Learning Outcomes through Church Systems Activation in Kenya

Grants to Support Faculty Fellows' Research
Grant Year

Child development science points to the first 1000 days of life as critical for enabling human flourishing. Yet the fragility of child development and learning systems in low-income contexts represent threats to the integral human development for millions of children. Few international efforts have sought to tap into faith-based systems for promoting early childhood education and development despite their significant presence in providing educational support and influence in the lives of families. In Kenya, the Catholic Church represents a significant child development and learning system that – if its teacher colleges were strengthened and parish communities activated – could make a major contribution to children’s integral development. A new initiative aims to strengthen and activate integrated early childhood development and learning support through the Catholic parish and school systems. An initial research phase asks: what are the existing human resources, institutional structures and activities, areas of organizational expertise, and social infrastructure in the Kenyan Catholic Church systems? To what extent can these assets be leveraged and activated in order to advance early childhood education and child development?