Mind, Heart, and Soul in the Fight against Poverty

By Katherine Marshall; Lucy Keough | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15
Expanding Early
Childhood Education
Madrasas in East Africa

Putting communities in charge, insisting on quality, and providing action-based learning are the hallmarks of the Madrasa Early Childhood Program in East Africa, supported by the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.’ The program’s objective is to marry best practices, community preferences, and local values and customs to exert a significant influence on children’s ability to perform well in school, career, and life.

The Madrasa Early Childhood Program provides parents and community leaders with the knowledge, management skills, and mechanisms to facilitate long-term financing to enable them to sustain their efforts. The program is a dynamic and constructive effort to build on local organizations—in this case traditional Islamic educational institutions known as madrasas—while bringing to bear international and national technical expertise. The focus on education of girls and engagement of women as teachers, mothers, and administrators is an important aspect of the program.

The Madrasa Early Childhood Program originated as a small pilot initiative in Kenya in the mid-1980s and was designed to address

This chapter, written by Lucy Keough, draws extensively from “The Madrasa Early
Childhood Programme in East Africa,” written in 2003 by Kathy Bartlett, AKF. We
have used it here with the permission of the AKF and Ms. Bartlett.

-183-

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