Lusaka, 14 June 2017 – Zambia will today launch the Lancet ECD Series and the Zambia adapted ECD Training Package with the theme that follows the Lancet ECD series: Advancing Early Childhood Development: From Science to Scale.
The Zambia country launch, follows the Global Launch that took place in Washington DC on 5th October 2016 in advance of the Human Capital Summit: Investing in the Early Years for Growth and Productivity, that was hosted by the World Bank. The 2016 Lancet ECD series, (i) reviews the latest evidence on child development and interventions; (ii) analyses what has been accomplished through investments in early childhood development and (iii) looks at how successful and cost effective programmes can be scaled up to reach and support more families.
- Investing in early childhood development interventions yield long term economic benefits – boosting workplace productivity and income and reducing inequities. There are also other benefits that accrue from investments in early childhood development such as improved educational and health outcomes.
- Early Childhood Development is more explicitly included in the sustainable development goals and Zambia being a signatory to the SDGs is committed to ensure that children in Zambia are supported to develop to their fullest potential.
- The human brain develops faster after conception through the age of 2-3 than at any other time in life: Young children’s healthy development depends on nurturing care which ensures health nutrition, responsive care-giving, safety and security, and early learning.
- Most families provide these experiences for their children but many cannot because of stresses and other conditions that interfere with their ability to parent. Families must therefore be supported to provide nurturing care through effective policies and programmes. To provide nurturing care, families need supportive policies, programmes and services from their communities and government.
- The Launch of the Zambia adapted ECD training materials that will also be launched with the Lancet Series, is a starting point in Zambia’s effort to scale up ECD through integration in existing national programmes under health, education and child protection.
- The opportunity to amplify ECD interventions is in the first three years of life if stimulation through parenting, educational support and adequate health and nutrition is provided. There is need to provide holistic
- Effective ECD programmes are the ones that provide multiple services: health, nutrition, child protection, stimulation and early learning which enables the holistic development of children • Bridges must be built between health and nutrition, education, social and child protection, to address the multiple needs of young children, especially the most vulnerable.
- Another important message from the Lancet ECD series is the cost of inaction: If children are unable to fulfill their social and developmental potential this not only harms their futures but their societies in which they live.
- This event draws together a diverse group of stakeholders that have a responsibility in one way or another to ensure the well being of children and their development. The launch brings together high level government officials from various ministries such as: Ministries of Health, Education, Community Development & Social Services; Ministry of Youth Sport and Child Development; and Chiefs and Traditional Affaires. It draws together a number of civil society organizations; researchers and academia and Cooperating Partners.
- The event will be graced by the Honor the Vice President, signaling high level commitment to Early Childhood Development. The report, Thirsting for a Future: Water and children in a changing climate, looks at the threats to children’s lives and wellbeing caused by depleted sources of safe water and the ways climate change will intensify these risks in coming years.
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 in Zambia, visit www.unicef.org/zambia.