Translating knowledge to action in ECD – but whose knowledge and whose actions?

A Webinar with the Early Childhood Development Action Networks

I was pleased to join the Early Childhood Development Action Networks’ webinar discussing how we can translate knowledge into policies and actions to benefit children’s early development, particularly at the more local level.

“When we talk about translating knowledge into practice, the question for me is which knowledge and whose knowledge. We often distinguish between global, scientific knowledge and local, indigenous knowledge. The latter is usually considered less universal and maybe has less confirmed validity. But I want to remind us that when we talk about global ECD knowledge and practices, those are still often based on Global North and, more specifically, white, western, European, American, middle and upper class cultures, values, norms, expectations.

So many of you know, so much of our early understanding in ECD and early intervention was based on a few small controlled studies, based on a homogenous group of children in the US or Canada. And yet these were not consider local knowledge. They were quickly extrapolated to be universally applicable. And yes, we wonderfully have increasing amounts of research being carried out in the Global South, in Pakistan, in Kenya, in Malawi, in many more places. But often we are using these opportunities to replicate, or to adapt or validate something that was initially developed in the Global North, or by Global North researchers. And even when we start something in the Global South, we tend to start with the premises or assumptions from the Global North. And the research, more often than not, is led by Global North researchers.

So my argument here is that the distinction we’ve made between global and local knowledge is not always objectively determined, and more often than not our ‘global’ knowledge base is actually biased and privileging the knowledge and values of the Global North.”

Visit the link to watch the whole video and hear more from myself and the other speakers.

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