Since April 2015, with funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Plan International USA has been implementing a second phase of the Community-Led Action for Children (CLAC2) project that is reaching children in communities affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Kenya.
Through the Young Children Affected by HIV and AIDS Strategic Initiative, this three-year effort aims to provide preschool-aged children with a healthy and strong start in life through an array of interventions.
- Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
- Project Start Date
- April 2015
- Project End Date
- November 2018
- Technical Areas Covered
- Parenting Practices; Early Learning Programs; Transitioning to Primary School; Referral Systems Development; Policy Advocacy and Partnerships
Activities encompass parenting education, including a focus on male caregiver engagement; early learning centers; transitioning to primary school; strengthening community referral systems; and policy advocacy and partnerships to put in place strengthened national and sub-national Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) policies, using a strong evidence base.
A partnership between Plan and Prevention Research for Community, Family, and Child Health, a research group at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, is focused on determining whether children in CLAC2 who attend early learning programs and who also have parents and caregivers who receive parenting education services, benefit from improved child outcomes.
CLAC2’s activities are organized around five major objectives:
- Parenting education – Parents and caregivers, in groups, work through a well-tested curriculum that helps them understand the importance of the early years for development and builds their confidence and capacity to provide care and stimulation to their children. Group members learn about the safety and protection of their children; are linked to appropriate health and nutrition services; and learn about hygiene and sanitation so that they can identify, manage, and prevent common childhood illnesses.
- Early learning centers – Along with parenting education, child-based and community-based early learning programs are at the heart of CLAC2. The project supports communities to create safe, locally sustainable structures for ECCD activities, whether they take the form of new formal centers or are centers that operate in existing spaces. Plan assists communities to recruit, support, and train teachers or volunteer caregivers, and supports the enhancement of curriculum quality.
- Transitioning to primary school – CLAC2 recognizes the importance of preparing children for their transition into the formal primary education system. Plan Finland is implementing this project component, with school- and community-based activities that enable children to enter school on time and stay in primary school to learn.
- Strengthening community referral systems – CLAC2 helps communities to successfully refer children who need health, nutrition, protection, or other services. For this to happen, long-term safety nets and social protection for children affected by AIDS and other vulnerable children that capitalize on the existing referral infrastructure and take into account the roles of relevant entities are needed.
- Policy advocacy and partnerships – It is important to integrate the principles of CLAC2 programming into government policy and sustainable partnerships. This approach is pursued through three inter-related strategies:
- Communities participating in collaborative national or sub-national policy advocacy related to early learning and holistic child well-being needs and the rights of vulnerable children
- Strengthening the CLAC2 evidence base as to what works, why, and how to scale its most effective aspects
- Compiling and disseminating lessons learned both within and outside Plan through cross-country learning and exchange meetings, documentation of lessons learned, and promotion of replicable elements and best practices to government and non-government partners.