About the Project

This project is one of the 2011 WISE Awards finalists.

aeioTU is a Colombian social enterprise that constructs and operates high-quality early childhood development centers for children aged 0-5 years, through a comprehensive program of education, nutrition, health and care.

Context and Issue

The daily reality of most children in Colombia is one of poverty, abuse and malnutrition, remnants of decades of internal conflict, narcotrafficking, and corruption.  Around 10% of the Colombian population is below the age of four and of those children, 68% live in extreme poverty and 65% do not receive any early childhood development services.

Due to a lack of financial means, awareness, infrastructure, and affordable alternatives, most low-income children are neglected. Even if poor families manage to send their children to one of the few publicly subsidized childcare centers, they are frequently confronted with inadequate standards, unprofessional staff, outdated pedagogical concepts, and insufficient infrastructure to meet the requirements of these children.

Solution and Impact

aeioTU is the first organization in Colombia to address the gap in early childhood development through both a bottom-up and top-down approach. It operates innovative and high-quality centers for the most vulnerable children in Colombia, using an extensive network of public-private partnerships from the governmental to the village level to start up and operate each center. As of June 2011, aeioTU has been operating 10 centers in 5 cities across Colombia, employing 319 people and educating 2,595 children.  In addition, aeioTU is continuously advocating for political and industrial change at the highest levels of Colombian government and the business community.

With BID – FOMIN support, aeioTU will promote a dynamic early childhood development market cluster for goods and services, design pedagogically appropriate learning modules for teacher training, and promote early childhood development as the investment of choice for corporations and foundations. Over time, better academic performance, lower rates of crime, drug use, violence, and increased productivity will generate the social returns that investment in early childhood has been proven to deliver.

April 26, 2011 (last update 02-21-2021)