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Founders: Patricia Eno Falope

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Developing and implementing strategies to support childhood development in Nigeria

The early years of life are the most critical for brain development. A graduate of the first cohort of Ryerson’s Masters of Early Childhood Studies program in the Faculty of Community Services, Patricia witnessed firsthand the amazing progress in child cognition that happens as a result of intentional changes in parenting, caregiver, and teacher practices. Patricia’s belief that all children, all over the world, should have access to education systems and strategies led her to create the Early Childhood Development Initiative (ECDI).

ECDI is a child’s rights-based not-for-profit organization currently operating in Nigeria, the largest country in West Africa. The low capacity of pre-primary teachers has been identified as a factor hindering early childhood development in the area. ECDI collaborates with governmental stakeholders and international agencies to build capacity at the most crucial time in a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development. To do this, ECDI establishes and delivers culturally appropriate teacher training programs and community enlightenment initiatives.

Working with UNICEF, ECDI has developed a training manual for pre-primary teachers which is now the standard in the 14 UNICEF-supported states of Nigeria. Over 5,000 pre-primary teachers have been trained in the last year and ECDI continues to advance further learning strategies that promote the best outcomes for children. For Patricia, the investment in time and effort toward optimal early childhood development for West African children is a key component to promoting overall sustainability in West Africa.

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