In 2012 GCE focused on early childhood care and education (ECCE), with the ‘Rights from the Start’ campaign. Every child has the right to education, and these rights start from birth, but every year, over 200 million children under the age of five do not receive these rights, giving them less chance to achieve their potential and end the cycle of poverty. ECCE is Goal 1 of the EFA Goals, and much is still to be achieved in this area.

The campaign asked supporters to create a ‘Big Picture’ to show what a good early childhood experience should look like, and millions of images all over the world were drawn, photographed or created by children and adults alike. Over 4000 were submitted online at the Global Action Week website, with many more sent directly to the GCE offices.

The impact of the campaign at a national level is already being seen. In the Phillippines, the national coalition has established ongoing dialogue with the Department of Education on ECCE programmes targeting marginalised, excluded and vulnerable groups through regional offfices and through the monitoring of the EFA Secretariat (composed of the Department for Education and E-Net Philippines). In Ghana, the Deputy Minister of Education pledged to ensure that the current ECCE policy is reviewed and implemented. The first step will be the development of an implementation plan. In Kenya there was an announcement for a proposed partnership to carry out advocacy on ECCE with the Parliamentary Committee on Education between UNICEF and the Elimu Yetu Coalition. In Somaliland a new government ECCE strategic document was unveiled during GAW. In Palestine, the Prime Minister attended the closing event of Global Action Week following a sustained campaign with over a million people participating nationwide.

On the global level, an exhibition of children’s drawings was created as part of the campaign, and this has so far been exhibited at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and at the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Berlin. Thousands of images were presented to the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, by school children from the Pierre Girard School in Paris, who gave a speech asking Heads of State to “keep their promises and encourage them to improve the lives of children in need… We must help all children grow up happy, for they become better adults!”

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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.