A turning point for early years investment – Theirworld

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UNICEF is one of the few global agencies meeting that goal. UNICEF’s Catherine Russell told the Act For Early Years event: “Millions of children don’t have the most basic needs met. That undermines their development and the development of their communities. Today almost 40% of children under five globally suffer from extreme poverty or stunting.

“These are staggering, eye-opening figures that demand action, especially if we hope to achieve by 2030 the target that all children have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education.”

Russell highlighted “insufficient public financing” but said there are clear solutions, including strengthening systems through sufficient levels of investment to reach all children. She added: “There can be no human development without early childhood development.”

Luis Beneviste, Global Director, Education, at the World Bank, said the organisation was currently supporting early years projects in 61 countries with funding of $2.2 billion. He said: “This is double our early childhood education programme of 10 years ago.

“This is a reflection of increasing importance that finance ministers are giving to early childhood investments. We are seeing a very important shift. But the demand is huge and the share of children who have access to quality early childhood services is small – so there is a lot of room for improvement.”

USAID – the United States International Development Agency – released a new education strategy this week that will help the organisation provide urgently-needed assistance for some of the poorest countries to accelerate services for young learners.

USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Bama Athreya said: “We are at a turning point. USAID’s new strategy elevates early childhood development. That is a signal that we are talking about all ages and stages.”

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