The Early Childhood Workforce Initiative Country Study Series examines ways to strengthen and scale up a quality workforce. The first of these studies, Supporting the early childhood workforce at scale: The Cuna Más home visiting program in Peru, focuses on Cuna Más, a large-scale ECD program in Peru.
As one of few home visiting programs operating – and having been evaluated – at scale in low- and middle-income countries, Cuna Más holds valuable workforce lessons that may resonate more broadly with ECD programs and policymakers seeking to reach young children and families around the world:
Supervision in the field is critical for the home visiting workforce, particularly in rural contexts where many workers have limited training or experience and work independently much of the time.
In addition to delivering important content, educational materials are critical for empowering community home visitors who may not have the training or experience to otherwise provide guidance to young children and families.
It is important to identify and address workers’ travel-related barriers, especially in rural or remote areas
Career ladders and pay scales can reward both professionals and volunteers for their dedication, retain and leverage the experience of high-performing individuals, and encourage strong candidates to see working in ECD as a viable career path, rather than temporary employment.
Home visiting is often used to reach vulnerable young children as well as their caregivers. Trained individuals regularly visit a caregiver and child to improve parenting behaviors, the home environment, and impact child outcomes. The Cuna Más home visiting service enjoys relatively high coverage and early results are promising: a recent impact evaluation by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) found large effects on children’s cognitive and language development. However, operating at scale presents challenges to quality and sustainability.