Original Research

Interrogating the ‘artificial’ divide between health and education for children aged 0–3 years in urban poor locales in Kenya

Aurelia Munene, Auma Okwany
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 6, No 2 | a465 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v6i2.465 | © 2016 Aurelia Munene, Auma Okwany | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 June 2016 | Published: 03 December 2016

About the author(s)

Aurelia Munene, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
Auma Okwany, Nascent Research and Development Organization, Netherlands

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Holistic integrated early childhood policies foster child well-being in the first 3 years of life. The normative framing of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) entrenches segmentation and creates artificial divides between education and health. This segmentation persists yet development processes for children are intertwined and mutually reinforcing. We trouble this artificial divide by drawing on findings from a study which examined the discursive care spaces in an urban poor locale in Kenya. Data were produced through in-depth interviews; participant observation and focus group discussions with caregivers and both state and non-state care providers. Using a socio-ecological lens to analyse intra- and inter-household interactions among caregivers, our analysis exposes the assumptions and silences in ECCE health and education and presents caregivers’ rich nuanced experiences and counter accounts. We conclude by calling for the imperative of bridging the divide between and within early childhood health and education to support integrated, adaptive and contextualised policy and practice.


Integrated ECCE Policy; Educarers; Socio-ecological model; Health; Education; Urban poverty


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