Early Childhood Development to build human capital and promote prosperity

The World Bank and UNICEF partner to mobilize highest officials, senior policymakers, and opinion leaders to promote Early Childhood Development

08 March 2022
Quality Education

Pristina, February 24 – The World Bank and UNICEF partnered in support of a high-level event to mobilize Kosovo’s highest officials, senior policymakers, and opinion leaders to promote Early Childhood Development (ECD) as a key strategy for human development and economic prosperity, and to support the reforms, resourcing and implementation of laws and policies that make it a priority.

The event was led by the President of Kosovo, Ms, Vjosa Osmani Sadriu with the participation of the Prime Minister, Mr, Albin Kurti, the UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Ms, Afshan Khan, the World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, Ms. Anna Bjerde, the Minster of Health, Dr. Rifat Latifi, the Minister of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation Ms. Arberie Nagavci, and other important stakeholders.

During the meeting Kosovo leaders issued a Call to Action with five key elements which aim to accelerate the early childhood development agenda and improve the coverage and quality of integrated ECD services. The Call to Action includes: Increased political will to raise the profile of early childhood development; the elevation of early childhood development objectives in development strategy; the establishment of a high-level Early Childhood Development Steering Committee, with strong leadership and representation from key ministries; increased funding for policies and programmes targeting the early years of a child’s life; and provision of targeted support for parents to improve development outcomes.

“Early childhood is a critical window of opportunity to shape the trajectory of a child’s holistic development and build a foundation for their future” said Nona Zicherman, Head of Office for UNICEF in Kosovo. “While there are still troubling inequalities in opportunities and access to services for young children in Kosovo, this Call to Action showed that decision-makers have understood the importance of investment in human capital and are committed to mobilizing the political will and resources necessary to improve the coverage, quality and inclusiveness of services for young children. UNICEF is ready to support Kosovo institutions and help ensure that every child in Kosovo has the best start in life.”

Available data indicate a worrying situation for the health, development, and wellbeing of young children in Kosovo. About 73 percent of children under 2 years of age are fully immunized, while the full immunization rate among children from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities for the same age group is as low as 38 percent. Only 15 per cent of 3–4-year-old children in Kosovo attend any form of early education. Nurturing care and early learning opportunities at home are also limited, with only 10 per cent of fathers and 46 per cent of mothers engaging in activities that promote children’s learning and school readiness. This lack of adequate care in the early years contributes to low levels of foundational literacy and numeracy, which have lifelong impacts on opportunities for employment and household poverty. Overall, a child born today in Kosovo will only be 57% as [i]productive when they reach adulthood as they could be if they received quality health and education services.

The World Bank and UNICEF have made a global commitment to work jointly to generate evidence, mobilize stakeholders, and advocate for greater investments in early childhood development. This global partnership is reflected in Kosovo through ongoing collaboration with key institutions to generate evidence, develop policies, and implement programs to improve the coverage and quality of ECD services. 

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Media contacts

Dafina Zuna
Head of Communications
UNICEF Kosovo Programme


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

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