#5for5 campaign: a global movement is growing on early childhood development

Early childhood development, Sustainable Development Goals

Theirworld's #5for5 campaign is raising awareness of early childhood development and putting pressure on world leaders to take urgent action to make sure all children have access to nutrition, health, learning, play and protection.

This has been a year many people around the world want to forget – but 2016 has also been the year when a global movement began to campaign for action and funding on early childhood development.

Back in January, Theirworld President Sarah Brown set the scene for change when she said: “2016 is a big year for ECD and there are many experts waiting to give their voices to support the case. 

“Investing in a tiny person is the way to get big dividends from our future citizens. Watch this space.”

In only a few months, early childhood development has moved up the global agenda – with world leaders showing the way in terms of making it a priority to provide nurturing early care, particularly for the poorest and most marginalised children. 

January also marked the official start of the Sustainable Development Goals – the set of targets to be achieved by 2030.

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, said in March: “The international community is beginning to act on this new understanding (of ECD).

“For the first time, the global development agenda includes a target for early childhood development. The Sustainable Development Goals recognise that early childhood development can help drive the transformation we hope to achieve over the next 15 years. This is a pivotal time.”

Here we look at some of the key moments in this growing movement.

Theirworld leads the way

Getting it right at the very beginning has been proven to have a life-changing impact on a child.

The better the start, the better a child is able to learn, move on to school and start contributing to the economy of the country.

This is why we are focusing on universal access to quality early years programmes to ensure all children have a healthy and equitable start in life in order to reach their fullest potential.

Theirworld’s #5for5 campaign is raising awareness of early childhood development and putting pressure on world leaders to take urgent action to make sure all children have access to nutrition, health, learning, play and protection.

We are working with partners to build the global movement and demand for action and funding for early childhood development for the poorest and most marginalised children. 

The involvement of diverse networks, families and communities around the world is critical to securing new funding and ensuring the successful delivery and uptake of programmes and services.

The Learning Generation

The Education Commission – a group of world leaders and experts – spent a year researching and analysing the state of global education and launched a major report called The Learning Generation at the UN General Assembly in September.

The report called for every country in the world to provide two years of free, quality pre-schooling to every child. It said nations must prioritise early childhood development and preschool to ensure the building blocks are in place for children to succeed in their education and beyond.

The commission said that is a very cost-effective way to improve educational outcomes, rather than spending more later to help children catch up.

At the report launch, UNICEF Chief Executive Anthony Lake said: “Investing from the earliest days of a child’s life is critical to the development of the brain. It is a once in a lifetime chance to build the future of a child – no stage in a child’s life is more important.”

What others are doing

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake called on world leaders in April to act quickly and invest wisely in early childhood development and nutrition programmes to reach children before primary school age.

They invited governments, development partners, civil society, foundations and the private sector to make ECD a global and national development priority.

The Hilton Foundation has continued to show leadership by supporting an ECD programme in Kenya

The Global Partnership for Education – in its strategic plan for 2016-2020 – said it wants to enhance countries’ progress on early childhood care and education.

It aims to do that by locking together better sector planning, stronger partner- ship at the global and country levels, exchange of knowledge, best practices and innovation, and strategic financing.

And that is the key to delivering quality early childhood development to every young girl and boy in the world.

Coming together and taking collective action is the next step to ensuring every child gets the best start in life.

More news

See all news