Executive Leadership Training Center, National Health and Family Planning Commission, China
The Executive Leadership Training Center (ELTC) of the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) is deeply interested in assessing the impact of its interventions to communicate results to the national government, inform its own work and scale up promising interventions. In 2013, the Chinese government merged the National Population and Family Planning Commission and the Ministry of Public Health to become the NHFPC. The government subsequently has relaxed national family planning laws that has limited most families to one child. With this momentous policy shift, the NHFPC has a mandate to realign its vast administrative capacity to enforce the one-child policies to other policy initiatives. The ELTC is spearheading a bold vision to transform former family planning locations and staff into cadres for promoting better parenting and early childhood development. To make a case in the NHFPC and with the government, the ELTC-NHFPC recognises the need to demonstrate the effectiveness of such approaches, including improved child development outcomes. ELTC staff, through engaging with 3ie associate member, Rural Education Action Programme and the Chinese Center for Agricultural Policy (REAP/CCAP), have become strong supporters of the value of impact evaluation evidence. Prior to becoming members, they engaged REAP/CCAP to carry out a small pilot assessing child development outcomes of home-based parenting and nutrition programmes.
Overview of engagement
3ie’s relationship with the ELTC-NHFPC started in 2014, amid the transition in the commission’s focus from family planning to early childhood development. ELTC-NHFPC is deeply interest in generating rigorous evidence around early childhood development programmes in order to improve them over time. They aim to strengthen their case for additional government investment in early childhood development, using the existing family planning infrastructure. 3ie is supporting ELTC-NHFPC, using a policy window grant, to generate evidence on a newly designed interventions to improve parenting practices of caretakers of migrant workers’ children in rural Shaanxi Province. They hypothesise that improved parenting from centre-based training and childcare will improve early childhood development outcomes. As an active 3ie member, the ELTC-NHFPC is also interested in participating in the larger impact evaluation community to learn from other members and from the experiences of other government agencies using impact evaluation evidence to inform policy and programming.
Examples of 3ie engagement
Policy window 3ie approved funding for an impact evaluation of parenting practices in rural Shaanxi province, in support of ELTC-NHFPC’s efforts to generate evidence about the efficacy of a new centre-based parenting intervention that informs future early childhood development policies and programming.
Community of practice Jianhua Cai, responsible officer of the ELTC-NHFPC, participated in a panel on the future of impact evaluation from the users’ perspective as part of a 3ie-coordinated conference on The Future of Impact Evaluation for International Development. The conference took place during the 3ie Washington Evidence Week in April 2015.
Community of practice The director of the ELTC-NHFPC prepared a paper and participated in a panel discussion on early childhood development evidence held during the UKFEIT conference in Oxford, UK in September 2015. 3ie and Oxford Policy Management sponsored this panel, which also drew on evidence generated through another 3ie early childhood development evidence project.
We are very honoured to be a member of the 3ie family. With the constant improvement of China's population policy, we are paying more attention to early childhood development. We need scientific, objective assessments of the effectiveness of these programmes, including the cost-effectiveness of project inputs and long-term impacts. We are learning a lot from 3ie family members.