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High Five! Show your support for our #5for5 early years campaign

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Students show how to high five at Mtein School in Lebanon during a visit by Theirworld (Theirworld/Hussein Baydoun)

Child nutrition (Early years), Childcare, Early childhood development

Be part of a global high five to pressure governments to start investing more in giving every child the best start in life.


Every child deserves the best start in life. Those first few years of playing, laughing, peek-a-boo and eating are so vital in setting up children for the rest of their lives.

But world leaders don’t seem to grasp the importance of early childhood development. While some kids are getting ahead, millions of young children –  particularly in the poorest parts of the world – are still trying to catch up.

Theirworld’s #5for5 campaign is about standing up for children who haven’t mastered standing up yet. Together we can help to make early childhood development a global priority in 2017.

High five

Spreading the word is as easy as giving a high five. In fact, that’s exactly what we’d love you to do on Thursday, February 9.

Join us by posting a video or picture of yourself high-fiving a child under five on social media.

Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – and tell people why it’s so important to support #5for5. 

Include the hasthtag #5for5 and the link to our #5for5 action page – theirworld.org/5for5 – where people can tell world leaders they must invest in early childhood development.

World leaders need to know that $1 invested in under-fives will turn into $17 in later life. But if we want to raise kids up, we need to start by raising awareness.

Why five?

The first five years of a child’s life are vital. It’s when 90% of their brain develops. And it’s when they need the five key elements of nurturing care – nutrition, health, learning, play and protection.

Five years. Five essential themes. #5for5.

Sadly, huge numbers of girls and boys from poor or marginalised families are being “left behind” because of factors like malnutrition and inadequate childcare in their early years. 

Less than half of all children around the world get any education in their early years. 

So before they even set foot in a primary school classroom, they are at a huge disadvantage. They will have a limited vocabulary and ability to learn.

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Hands up if you’re supporting our #5for5 campaign – these students at Mtein school are (Theirworld/Hussein Baydoun)

Words are not enough

On paper, world leaders have recognised the need for early childhood development. 

The Sustainable Development Goals adopted at the United Nations in 2015 include a target to ensure that by 2030 all children “have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education”. 

And the global Education Commission has called for every child in every country to be given two years of free, quality pre-schooling.

But the words are not being backed up by real change quickly enough.

In the world’s high-income countries, 87% of children go to preschool. But in low-income countries it is only 23%. That’s despite it being a very cost-effective way to improve educational outcomes, rather than spending more later to help children catch up.

It’s time for action

Countries and businesses need to start caring about the care of young children – because investing in them can help to boost a nation’s economy and potential for growth. It is one of the smartest investments a country can make, helping to break the cycle of poverty and tackle inequality. 

Every $1 spent on pre-school programmes can return up to $7, according to the influential Education Commission report last year. 

The future return comes from better productivity and lower spending on education and welfare.


Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, said: “Child education should not be seen as a social development issue but rather one that shapes the path of economic growth and development.

“We therefore need to significantly increase our investments in child education, as children are the future of the world.”

It’s ironic then that a major development strategy for Africa makes no mention of the importance of early years. 

Germany’s “Marshall Plan”  proposes a “new level” of equal co-operation between the continent and western countries in areas such as education, trade and migration. 

But it’s the latest high-level development report to gloss over – or ignore – the need for early nurturing care to be a vital part of the plans for children.


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