USAID/Ethiopia and the LEGO Foundation have just announced a new public-private partnership to improve early childhood care and education across Ethiopia. Both organizations have agreed to co-fund and co-design education projects worth at least $25 million that will help preschool aged children (ages 3 to 6+), with a focus on children living in conflict and crisis-affected regions, to play, learn, and develop to their full potential. “USAID/Ethiopia and the LEGO Foundation are committed to increasing opportunities for pre-school-aged children to learn through play—at a key stage in brain-development—before they enter primary school,” says Acting USAID/Ethiopia Mission Director James Dobson. This incredible partnership builds on a national memorandum of understanding signed in August 2021.
This collaborative work will commence in the coming months and will increase opportunities for children to participate in quality play-based, pre-primary activities that improve their early learning and holistic development. It will prioritize children affected by crisis and conflict, including refugees and IDPs, returnees, and those in host communities. “Play provides comfort, helps children to overcome traumatic experiences, builds resilience, and returns them to the routine and normalcy of being a child. This is especially important for young children whose families are on the move due to conflict and crises,” says Sarah Bouchie, Chief Impact Officer at the LEGO Foundation.
USAID and the LEGO Foundation currently have a world-wide agreement to combine their respective strengths in education and development: leveraging resources, field presence, research, and the ability to meet the pre-primary and primary education needs of children in all corners of the world. Together, they hope to create a future in which learning through play empowers children to become the best they can be—creative and engaged life-long learners.
USAID and the LEGO Foundation also understand the importance of partnerships in emergency response efforts, shown through their joint funding in the Education Cannot Wait and Global Partnership for Education initiatives and their collaborative work with the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies. When public and private partners come together to ensure access, quality, and equity in education in emergencies, they can transform children’s lives.
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