Leave No Child Behind Study Published

A study led by Light for the World with its partners, supported by the Early Childhood Program of the Open Society Foundations, further identified strategic commitments to ECD as reflected in policy documents up until 2019.
Smiling child running photo credit Will Boase

Light for the World with its partners, supported by the Early Childhood Program of the Open Society Foundations, has launched its study ”LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND. Invest in the early years” to uncover trends and strategic commitments in aid for inclusive ECD, September 12th, 2019 at the UNESCO International Forum on Inclusion and Equity in Education in Cali, Colombia.

Millions of children under the age of five living 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, equitable and inclusive early childhood development (ECD) can help mitigate this risk and smooth the pathway for the most marginalised to access their rights.

Urgent action is needed to strengthen systems to provide nurturing care for the most vulnerable of children. In Sub-Saharan Africa, by 70% (14 million), since 2016, has increased opposes to a decline globally. The lack of attention given to deliver early childhood intervention services such as screening for impairments and parenting programmes to support parents to provide nurturing care.

Mother and Son

Four year-old Nourou was born with cerebral palsy in a village in Burkina Faso, and did not learn to walk or communicate until he and his mother started receiving early intervention support – play, singing, talking – two years ago from a community based rehabilitation worker. His mother now believes in her son’s ability to learn and intends to enroll Nourou in their local primary school.

Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and also within the Sustainable Development goals governments are dutybound to provide universal access to essential early years services.

”Sadly, the majority of babies and toddlers at risk of developmental delays and with disabilities and developmental delays (and their caregivers), do not receive early childhood development services, despite the irrefutable scientific evidence that it can dramatically improve their future lives and learning outcomes. It’s the soundest and wises investment governments can make, yielding up to 17 USD return on investment.”

Nafisa Baboo

-Light for the World’s director for Inclusive Education, Nafisa Baboo

But there is evidence that investing in young children yields positive returns in education, health and productivity, and is, therefore, a sound investment for every government. ECD is also affordable. An additional 50 cents per person annually is all it costs for ECD to be incorporated into existing services. Despite evidence of high returns and affordability, many governments are falling short of their commitments to young children. Most giving 1% or less of education aid to early learning. Therefore our research shows that it is key to promote a better understanding of ECD amongst donors governments and recipient countries.

We are calling now to all governments to make inclusive ECD a reality, leave no child behind!

A summary report can be found here. The full report as well as advocacy tools comprising 10 donor advocacy briefs for ODA advocacy, recipient country profiles for national advocacy, and a user-friendly checklist to support the design of inclusive ECD programmes that seek to support the most marginalised children will be available soon.

Summary Report


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