More ECD aid is needed for young children in conflicts says Theirworld

Children in conflicts, Early childhood development

Photo: A World at School/Tyler Zang

As war rages around them, young children around the world are missing out on the chance to develop and learn.

That means their early years of development are being put on hold  – just when they most need security and emotional support – according to a new briefing published today.

The children’s charity Theirworld says more humanitarian aid funding and attention needs to be directed towards early childhood development (ECD) initiatives that support young children and their caregivers living through conflicts and protracted crises around the world.

The briefing says: “With the average length of displacement for refugees at 17 years, children cannot wait for an end to violence or displacement for learning and development to begin.

“ECD can be a lifesaving intervention for the youngest children living in conflict and protracted crises and helps ensure that these children do not miss out on the opportunity to reach their full developmental potential.”

Millions of children living through conflict are much more likely to be excluded from school or fall behind academically. Refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children.

Photo: A World at School/Claire Wilkinson

Theirworld – the charity behind A World at School – says: “ECD centres can help keep young children on track to begin school while also diminishing their time spent idle or unsupervised.”

The publication of the briefing came the day after Theirworld attended a panel discussion to explore innovative strategies to meet the needs of young children in humanitarian crises. hosted by the Center for Universal Education at Brookings and Sesame Workshop.

In a blog published today, Theirworld Research Consultant Molly Curtiss writes:  “Jeffrey Dunn, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop, explained that currently ‘a great many refugee kids are missing out on the stable learning experiences that are necessary to cognitive development and to a successful adult life.’

“In such dangerous situations, early childhood development (ECD) programmes can be a lifeline for the youngest children, helping to keep them safe and give them hope for the future.”

Theirworld is an innovative charity which, through research, pilot projects and campaigning, helps children globally unlock their potential.

Read the full Theirworld briefing

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