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On September 29 and 30, 2021, the Regional Network to Measure Childhood Development – Advances Made in the Agenda for Measuring Early Childhood in Latin America Conference was held remotely. It was organized by the Regional Network to Measure Childhood Development, also known as REMDI, for its acronym in Spanish (Red Regional de Medición del Desarrollo Infantil), with the support of the Inter-American Dialogue, the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science, and Culture (OEI), and the Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN). This conference brought together authorities, public officials, decision-makers, and academics linked to early childhood development in countries of the region.
REMDI is a regional network of specialists that seeks to promote and facilitate current and future surveying efforts so that all Latin American countries have clear, technically sound mechanisms for evaluating childhood development at the national level which allows for comparisons between countries as well as between population subgroups within a country.
The main purpose of this conference, the first to be organized by the Network, was to share experiences and reflections regarding the regional progress, lessons learned, and challenges of measuring early childhood development, monitoring the agenda promoted in recent years, as well as the emerging challenges given the context of the pandemic and the recovery process associated with it. This conference presented the work that the network has spearheaded in the last two years while exploring the advances made in measuring early childhood development in the region. The document presented below summarizes the ideas and reflections shared during the conference.
- REMDI plays a relevant role in contributing to the promotion and progress of the agendas for measuring early childhood development within its member countries, as well as in those who participate in its meetings or who benefit from its work.
- It is useful to have the information and experiences generated from the surveys carried out in the region, as well as the analysis of lessons, challenges, and strategies associated with their design and implementation in the countries themselves. REMDI plays a relevant role in facilitating this horizontal learning exchange.
- Measuring development must be understood as a state policy, which goes beyond the actions of individual governments. This facilitates the continuity and sustainability of evaluations.
- Constructing and promoting inter-institutional alliances, along with the development and implementation of evaluations facilitates the sustainability and prioritization of their financing. We recognized that the financial sustainability of evaluations is a permanent challenge for the countries of the region.
- The pandemic, and its effects on early childhood development, must be understood from multiple perspectives that allow us to account for the complexity of the profound inequities of the Latin American and Caribbean reality.
- Lessons learned from the evaluation efforts conducted during the pandemic have led to the development of measuring instruments for use in emergency contexts, where the best possible evaluation tools are short-duration and virtual.