Ahead of International Children’s Day you are warmly invited to the online launch event of the report “Leave No Child Behind: Invest in the Early Years”.

When: Thursday, 19 November 2020, 8:30-10:00 am EST

Location: Zoom Online Event. Register here.

Millions of children under the age of five in low- and middle-income countries are at high risk of not achieving their full potential. Marginalised children such as children with disabilities and developmental delays are even more excluded from services, although their developmental gains are the highest.

Our research into the financing and implementation of inclusive early childhood development (ECD) by ten donors examines case studies across 4 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe) and shows severe gaps in services and funding.

The COVID-19 crisis is putting even higher strain on domestic and international resources, but funding for inclusive ECD cannot wait: It is essential to support young children’s development, and this development happens during a small time window between birth and the age of five.

Join leaders in the development field when they share the main findings and recommendations of the report. The panelists will also discuss how we all can contribute to fully inclusive, high-quality and equitable early childhood development systems.

We hope you can join us!

On behalf of the report and launch event co-sponsors,

Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN), Global Campaign for Education (GCE) International and US, International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), Light for the World, Open Society Foundations Early Childhood Program

P.S. Please sign our joint petition with Global Citizen calling on world leaders to support inclusive early childhood development and help children with disabilities get a good start in life.

About early childhood development and the Leave no Child Behind research:

Millions of children under the age of five in low- and middle-income countries are at high risk of not achieving their full potential. Multiple factors influence this risk, including health, nutrition, security and safety, responsive caregiving, early learning opportunities, and access to safe water, sanitation and other basic services. High-quality and timely family-centred early childhood interventions (ECI) as well as equitable and inclusive early childhood development (ECD) can help mitigate this risk and smooth the pathway for the most marginalised children to access their rights.

Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, governments are duty-bound to provide universal access to essential early years services. However, a high proportion of marginalised children, in particular girls and children with disabilities who face multiple layers of discrimination, are often excluded from ECD services.

Investing in young children yields positive returns in education, health and productivity, and is, therefore, a sound investment for every government. Inclusive education must begin in early childhood, which is the most rapid period of a child’s development. Inequalities in learning and developmental outcomes emerge as soon as children are born. It is typically too late to address them at a later stage of education. Early positive experiences of inclusion support children in developing values and attitudes that equip them with the skills contributing to inclusive communities and just societies later in life. Parents and communities play a crucial role in the life of young children. Parents need to be empowered through a family strength based model to support holistic development of their young children.

ECD is affordable. An additional 50 cents per person annually is all it costs for ECD to be incorporated into existing services. Yet, despite evidence of high returns and affordability, many governments are falling short of their commitments to young children. Levels of financing for ECD remain low and do not come close to providing high-quality services for all children from birth. Now is the time to change this and invest in the future of all young children by giving them a good start in life.

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The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that aims to end exclusion in education. Education is a basic human right, and our mission is to make sure that governments act now to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education.