Early education for young deaf children and their caregivers in Ghana

This research builds understandings of the social-cultural and resource dynamics surrounding the developmental precarities of childhood deafness in the Global South to support early education programming.

Deafness affects 32 million children worldwide and is disproportionately prevalent in LMICs where the physical, economic, cultural, and social contexts of children’s lives inhibit access to inclusive and equitable early education.

As a new interdisciplinary research partnership we investigate these challenges in Ghana where early child development and inclusive education for all is a development priority. We will co-produce case studies in rural and urban environments and survey extant practices and policies to inform a contextually situated and intersectoral approach to early education that builds on the proximal and external resources around the child.


Through collaborations with education and hearing health scholars, and work with caregiver, families and communities in Ghana we will produce critical knowledge about childhood deafness and development to inform early educational programming that is sensitive to contextual understandings of deafness and the established proximal and external resources around children, their caregivers and communities. Our ambition is not only to support innovation in early years policy and practice but to also identify what works and what can be replicated across different urban and rural contexts.

A legacy of this project will be the development of interdisciplinary (education, health and linguistics) research capacity and multi-professional practice, and an ecological research approach to the delivery of quality multi-sectoral ECD services with relevance to other marginalised, isolated and disadvantaged young people in Global South contexts.

Find out more about the impacts of the project by reading the article ‘Professor Ruth Swanwick visited Ghana to meet with the co-investigators from the University of Education, Winnba’.


Professor Swanwick returned to Ghana for the completion of the project to meet stakeholders and present the team’s work. Find out more about the visit by reading the news story Professor Ruth Swanwick returns to Ghana as early education project reaches fruition.

Project website