Institute of Education


A 5-year review of The World Bank Early Learning Partnership (ELP) Programme 2018-2022

A review to assess the effectiveness and impact of the $30.8M ELP programme and sustainability of its impact.

Girls writing at preschool

The ELP programme is a multi-donor trust funded by The World Bank, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and UK Department for International Development (DIFID), and managed by The World Bank.

Professor Lynn Ang (IOE) in collaboration with Ecorys UK have been commissioned to conduct a five-year review of the $30.8M Early Learning Partnership (ELP). These funds are allocated across 26 countries within Africa and South Asia, tasked with supporting activities in early years, early learning, and early childhood development. 

  • Professor Lynn Ang (PI and Academic Lead), IOE
  • Dr. Bernardita Muñoz-Chereau (Research Fellow), IOE
  • Jonathan France (PI and Director), Ecorys UK
  • Sara Rizzo (Research Associate), Ecorys UK
  • Catie Erskine (Senior Research Associate), Ecorys UK

The aim of the review is to assess the effectiveness and impact of the programme, and the sustainability of its impact.

The ELP aims to improve early learning opportunities and outcomes for young children through catalysing large-scale quality provision in order to contribute to the global evidence- base of ‘what works’, and scale-up access to quality early learning.

The ultimate outcome is to support development of children’s skills needed to thrive in school and beyond. This will promote initiatives that have already begun to achieve the primary objective of giving children the necessary skills, so that they can thrive in early life and beyond, and bring about long-term change worldwide by influencing policy at government level and supporting success for future generations.

Examples of ELP Grants

CountryELP Grants
  • Income-support-linked early childhood development and child nutrition for rural mothers
Burkina Faso
  • Mobile creches for mothers working on cash for work activities
  • Implementation support for early childhood development  activities linked to cash transfers
  • Supervision of early childhood development component within education access and
  • Quality improvement project
  • Technical assistance for the inclusion of 'O class' interventions in GEQIP2 Program
  • System diagnostics on the current stage of early childhood development 
  • Expansion of access to early childhood development 
  • Promoting early childhood education
  • Development of evaluation tools for early childhood education
  • Early childhood development and pre-school programs in Odisha
Ivory Coast
  • Project for pre-school development
  • Evaluating parenting training and home-based reading readiness
  • Economic empowerment of adolescent girls and young women
  • Early childhood development practitioners training
  • System diagnostics on the current stage of early childhood development 
  • An integrated approach to improving early childhood development  outcomes
  • Strengthening early childhood development in social safety net programs
  • Early childhood education technical assistance
  • Integrating early learning and stimulation in the Sindh province
  • Supporting the expansion of quality early childhood education classrooms in Punjab
  • System diagnostics on the current stage of early childhood development 
  • Investing in the early years for human development
Sri Lanka
  • Technical assistance for the preparation and launch of early childhood development project
  • System diagnostics on the current stage of early childhood development 

The methodology is a longitudinal multi-method approach which includes documentary analysis of secondary and grey literature (e.g. government reports, policy statements and research reports), semi-structured interviews with stakeholders, and country visits.


The review is taking place in 15 low and middle-income countries: 11 African countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Senegal and Tanzania) and 4 South Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) where the ELP  grants are being implemented. For India, Ethiopia and Kenya, country visits are being conducted to allow the review team to gather in-depth information on funded activities.

The country visits provided insights into the breadth of early learning partnership activities taking place, and offered the opportunity to identify knowledge gaps in key ECD areas.

For example, in India three ELP grants were focused on promoting and assessing early years educational interventions to improve the quality of education provided by the state community preschool centres, also known as ‘aanganwadis’.

In New Delhi, interviews were conducted with  the country team, early years fellows, local partners, stakeholders, and policy-makers. Senior officials from the Maharashtra state in Nagpur city were also interviewed.

The country visits also included meetings with pre-school workers and children across different early years settings.

The field visits provided critical insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by local stakeholders in the target countries in the implementation of the ELP.