Dr. Ponguta's work centers on the advancement of Early Childhood Development (ECD) in low and middle-income countries with a focus on policy and program evaluation, implementation research, and advocacy. Dr. Ponguta is currently working on the development and evaluation of a novel school readiness program to build community youth leaders’ vocational skills as early childhood educators in rural Pakistan. She also recently received a seed grant to explore the adaptation of the program among youth in Colombia living in areas of high internal displacement in the country. Dr. Ponguta co-led a randomized control trial evaluating a school readiness intervention targeting mothers and children living in Palestinian refugee camps and marginalized communities in Beirut. She is also an advisor to groups conducting randomized control trials and observational studies of parenting and school readiness programs in Brazil, Colombia and Saudi Arabia. Dr. Ponguta is the Principal Investigator of a grant to conduct a whole-sector analysis of Early Childhood Education in Emergencies (ECEiE), funded by Dubai Cares through the International Network of Education on Emergencies. Dr. Ponguta is also an academic consultant for a multi-national partnership that aims to develop and evaluate ECD programs and address their potential impact on social cohesion, transformation and peacebuilding in several post-conflict settings in Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. Dr. Ponguta has led and participated in ECD policy-making and policy analysis projects in over 10 countries in Africa (Kenya, Angola, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda), Southeast Asia (Laos, Timor Leste), Eastern Europe (Kosovo, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Moldova), Latin America (Peru, Colombia, Nicaragua, Brazil) and the Middle East (Palestine). These projects include the development of comprehensive and integrated ECD policies and national implementation plans, national feasibility studies for ECD program implementation at scale, and an international comparative study on the mechanisms of governance and finance of ECD in four world regions. Her work also includes the adaptation and implementation of measures to assess the quality of ECD at scale in Latin American countries. Dr. Ponguta is also a member of the Early Childhood Peacebuilding Consortium, an international partnership focused on the promotion of investment on ECD as a mechanism for peacebuilding.
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