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The Government of the Netherlands grants $13.5 million to support a programming approach to early childhood development

Den Haag, 18 April 2008 - The Government of the Netherlands has announced a grant of $13,5 million, via UNICEF, to support a programme on early childhood development in selected countries.

The programme will 1) support country-level actions to increase disadvantaged children’s access to quality ECD programmes  in 10 countries enabling them to be ready to learn in schools that are ready for them and with families fully engaged in the development of their children; 2) create policy environments and support capacity development and monitoring systems that are sustainable;  3)  build capacity in ECD, develop a knowledge base and indicators in these 10 countries and include ECD in funding instruments such as the Fast Track Initiative (FTI), UNGEI, and other national policy instruments; 4) support global and local level evidence for policy advocacy and planning for ECD.

As many as 200 million children under five in the developing world are not fulfilling their potential for development. Due to poor health, under-nutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and poor learning environments that do not provide enough responsive stimulation, they are developing more slowly, or are failing to develop critical thinking and learning skills. Yet we know that investments in early childhood development for children in conditions of social marginalisation and disadvantage have been shown to be more effective than during any other life period. Investments in early child development will increase the likelihood that both boys and girls complete primary school.

In 2007, the Government of the Netherlands has supported UNICEF with a total contribution of $171 million, which makes the Netherlands the fourth largest government donor to UNICEF.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:
Unicef Netherlands press office, Eveline Meltzer 070 – 333 9 332, emeltzer@unicef.nl, Martin de Beer, 070 – 333 9 379, mdebeer@unicef.nl




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