In this study the policies and practices for early childhood development (ECD) in the international development cooperation are analysed and related to the scientific literature. This is done by analyzing two sources of data: ECD policy documents of various international development organisations and interviews with representatives of organisations active on ECD. This study shows that most international development organisations are using a rights-based perspective for working on ECD in the majority world and aim to implement holistic ECD programs for disadvantaged children with services during the whole period of childhood. While the effectiveness of this approach for ECD is supported by minority world research, this does not justify its use in the majority world. The majority and minority world differ greatly in cultural and context, which results in different models of childhood and the need for different ECD programs. Therefore, international development organisations have included specific mechanisms in their policies to translate the international ECD policies into ECD programs that fit the local culture and context of the majority world. However, little is known about the effectivity of these translating mechanisms. Therefore, the international field of ECD needs to invest in more research: research on indigenous models of childhood in the majority world and research on the most effective way to translate universal policies into effective ECD programs in the majority world
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