Report Summary: Five-Year Report on Early Childhood Development Program

Case Study: Zambia | Early Childhood Development

Poverty is widespread in Zambia – over 60% of the total population lives below the poverty line, with the rate rising over 80% in rural areas. Without sufficient income, many lack the means to reach basic food requirements - especially children and households headed by women.

An estimated 64% of Zambians are living in poverty. HIV/AIDS prevalence in Zambia is at a high of 12.4% with 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Zambia has one of the highest incidences of malaria-related deaths in the world.

Episcopal Relief & Development partners with the Zambia Anglican Council Outreach Programs (ZACOP) to facilitate community transformation so that young children survive and thrive while facing the challenges of poverty and HIV/AIDS.

Through integrated programming, ZACOP and Episcopal Relief & Development are providing critical care and support for vulnerable families with young children. The program focuses on strengthening the role of parents and primary caregivers in nurturing care and stimulation of their children while supporting families to improve health, nutrition and livelihoods.

ZACOP’s integrated rural program is based in local churches and schools serving as Early Childhood Development Centers. The Early Childhood Development (ECD) program is supported in part by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and with prior support from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. By end of 2018, the program will have reached 8,760 primary caregivers and 17,520 children under the age of five and will connect a network of 2,905 community volunteers - including promoters, grannies, pre-school teachers, community health workers, psychosocial counselors and members of safe motherhood action groups. The proposed four- year (2018-2021) ECD program will build on current success and momentum by introducing 80 new ECD centers.

The ECD program leverages the assets of the Church nationally and locally, focusing on young children’s cognitive, psychosocial and physical development. Trained ECD volunteers facilitate support and learning groups for caregivers and playgroups for children, make monthly home visits and provide referrals to needed services. The program succeeds in helping caregivers and communities so that young children can thrive in rural areas, serving as a catalyst for community organizing and development in marginalized areas.

Caregiver learning and support groups are the hub for diverse activities, including education about child health and nutrition and the importance of clean water, sanitation and hygiene. The groups include a Savings with Education component where participants are able to build up personal funds to invest in their children's health and education. Participants are also able to access training and seeds for constructing household gardens to improve household nutrition and diet diversity. Adult literacy classes and vocational and business training have enabled many individuals, especially women, to start small enterprises and support their families.


Our work with Women focuses on helping communities promote the rights of women and children and move toward the vision that everyone deserves a life free from violence in a society where they are treated with dignity and respect. Only then can communities truly heal and thrive.


Our work with Children supports and protects kids under six so they reach appropriate health and developmental milestones. This focus on early development is foundational and critical to helping children achieve their full potential as future contributing members of their communities.

Zambia Press Releases and Stories

Fast Facts

Zambia has a very high rate of HIV/AIDS, and high maternal and infant mortality.
60% of Zambians live below the poverty line, and extreme poverty is a critical issue in rural areas.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Goal 1: No Poverty

Goal 1: No Poverty End poverty in all its forms everywhere  Learn more»

Goal 2: Zero Hunger

554be761359bb2c17e80f64e0f1fbdcdEnd hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture  Learn more »

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-BeingEnsure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages  Learn more»

Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Goal 6: Clean Water and SanitationEnsure access to water and sanitation for all Learn more »

Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthPromote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all  Learn more »

Goal 15: Life on Land

Goal 15: Life on LandSustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss  Learn more »

Resources & Learning

Click below to access our Resource Library and learn more about our efforts around the world.
Resources & Learning