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The World Bank launches a practical guide on stepping up early childhood development

  |   SUN Donor Network

investing-in-early-childhood-development_001On 15 December 2016, the World Bank Group with the support of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, launched “Stepping up Early Childhood Development: Investing in Young Children for High Returns“, a document which serves as a practical guide for policymakers and practitioners about how to invest in young children.

Download Stepping up Early Childhood Development: Investing in Young Children for High Returns”  EnglishPortugês, Español, Français

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Key interventions for young children and their families. Click to enlarge.

Early gaps in childhood development jeopardize a child’s capacity to reach important milestones and achieve full potential in life. Interventions in the early years have the potential to offset negative trends and provide young children with more opportunities for optimal quality learning, physical growth and health, and eventually increased productivity in life. New biological and social science evidence provides a wealth of resources to inform innovative strategies that promote optimal child growth and development. Programs that combine services (such as nutrition and psychosocial stimulation) can have especially large beneficial impacts and rates of return.

Unfortunately, most countries fall short in their delivery of essential services for young children and their families. The challenge ahead is to develop scalable, cost-effective models for delivering these services in low- and middle-income countries. The new guide draws on these existing frameworks and broad evidence on the impacts of ECD interventions. It summarizes some of the existing literature on this topic with the aim to identify key interventions needed for children.

The guide is intended to provide an easily accessible introduction to interventions and integrated services that could  help policymakers and practitioners think about how to effectively invest in ECD. It identifies 25 essential ECD interventions that can be delivered through five integrated packages at different stages in a child’s life, spanning the education, health, nutrition, water, sanitation, and social protection sectors.


Today ECD is increasingly recognized as one of the most important investments that countries and families can make to prosper and help all children lead productive lives. In recognition of the strong evidence on the positive impact of ECD interventions on young children, investments in ECD projects at the World Bank (grants and loans) as well as in analytical and capacity building work related to ECD have increased considerably in the last few years. But more can and has to be done to convince policy makers and practitioners to truly place ECD policies and programs at the core of their national development strategies.”

Claudia Costin, Senior Director, Education, Arup Banerji, Senior Director, Social Protection and Labor, Timothy Grant Evans, Senior Director, Health, Nutrition, and Population


On the day following the launch, an event was convened by the World Bank Group and co-hosted by the Global Partnership for Education about stepping up early childhood development. The panel discussed how to use the evidence to influence policy makers and scale up investments moving forward to ensure that children not only survive their early years, but also thrive during this period.

Follow the event via hashtag #InvestEarly

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