5th National ECD Stakeholders’ Conference 2023: A Call to Action for Early Childhood Development


The 5th National Early Childhood Development (ECD) Stakeholders’ Conference was held in Lodwar Town, Turkana County, from 17th-19th July 2023. Themed "From Policy and Evidence to Action," the three-day event brought together over 500 ECD practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders from 31 counties and 10 countries.

The conference highlighted the vital role that research and data play in shaping policy decisions and translating them into tangible actions. Attendees engaged in vibrant discussions, examining the latest evidence and strategies to foster positive growth in the early years of childhood.

One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of the IFNuS Project, which is working to improve food and nutrition security in arid and semi-arid lands in Kenya. The project showcased its innovative programs, such as the "ECD Vege-Lunch" program, which educates ECD children on vegetable cultivation in their school gardens. By incorporating the harvested produce into their lunches, the program aims to improve the nutritional status of the children.

The IFNuS Project also featured the "Ekamong’o Lunch" initiative, which seeks to reevaluate the value of the traditional edible wild plant Ekomang'o (scientifically known as Leptadenia hastata). By including it in school lunches at primary schools, the program enhances the nutritional balance of the meals without any additional cost.

The exhibit also included an actual tasting of Ekomang'o, allowing attendees to rediscover this forgotten, highly nutritious vegetable. Visitors were impressed with the unique flavors and potential health benefits, sparking renewed interest in its culinary uses.

These innovative programs, as demonstrated at the conference, reflect a concerted effort to leverage local resources and traditional wisdom in enhancing childhood nutrition. By offering practical solutions and engaging the community, the IFNuS Project is making significant strides in addressing vital nutritional needs, enriching children's lives, and preserving cultural heritage.

The conference concluded with a call to action for all stakeholders to work together to ensure that all children have access to quality early childhood development programs. By investing in early childhood, we can build a brighter future for all Kenyan children.





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