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Core Commitments

for Children

are the core UNICEF policy and framework for humanitarian action

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT (ECD)[92]

Strategic Result

Young children[93] have equitable access to essential services and parents and caregivers are supported to engage in nurturing care[94]

Commitment

Benchmarks

  • Targeted interventions for young children are integrated into health, nutrition, WASH, child protection, education, early learning and parenting programmes

1:  Access to services

 

Young children have equitable and safe access to essential services to fulfil their developmental needs

  • Support to practice nurturing care is available, inclusive and gender-sensitive and used by parents and caregivers with specific attention to adolescents and young parents

2:  Support to parents and caregivers

 

Parents and caregivers are supported to practice nurturing care

  • Training in ECD and nurturing care is conducted with health, nutrition, WASH, child protection and education frontline workers and partners

3:  Capacity-building

 

Capacity of frontline workers and partners in inclusive ECD and nurturing care is strengthened

Key Considerations

Advocacy

  • Promote ECD with donors and host-government structures and policies to better address the developmental needs of young children.

Coordination and Partnerships 

  • Ensure ECD is represented within the host-government structures and in sector/cluster coordination mechanism, especially Education, Nutrition, Health, WASH and Child Protection.

Quality Programming and Standards

  • Collaborate with all sectors to ensure that ECD guidance, tools and supplies are integrated into plans and that sectoral staff and frontline workers are trained on how best to implement them across all sectors.

  • Incorporate age-, disability- and sex-disaggregated data of children aged between 0-8 years, in the assessments, planning and monitoring that corresponds to ECD needs and programming[95].

  • Design and implement programmes in accordance with the quality standards of the  ECD Programme Guidance.

  • Contextualize and localize ECD tools and supplies.

  • Integrate GBV risk mitigation in all ECD programmes. Work with GBV actors and coordination mechanisms to reduce risks of GBV and ensure provision of care for survivors of GBV. Equip and train social protection personnel with up-to-date information on available GBV response services and referral procedures to support GBV survivors. If there are no GBV actors available, train ECD staff on the GBV Pocket Guide.

  • Ensure that children and their caregivers and communities are engaged in the design and implementation of ECD programmes, participate in decisions that affect their lives, and have access to safe, child-friendly and confidential complaints mechanisms.

Linking Humanitarian and Development

  • Apply a life-course approach to maximize investments across the first two decades of a child’s life. For instance, humanitarian programmes that intend to enhance maternal, parental, infant and young child development will also positively affect adolescents (and vice versa).

Footnotes

[92] Early Childhood refers to the period of life from conception to school entry. Development is an outcome, it is a continuous process of acquiring skills and abilities across the domains of cognition, language, motor, social and emotional development and occurs as a result of the interaction between the environment and the child.

[93] Young children include children between the age of 0-8 years or the age of school entry.

[94] Nurturing care refers to conditions created by public policies, programmes and services, which enable communities and caregivers to ensure children’s developmental needs through good health, hygiene and nutrition practices, early learning, protecting them from threats and responsive caregiving. 

[95] See UNICEF ECD Programme Guidance, pp 33-34.

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