International Early Childhood Development Forum Conducted
Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally (IYCG) aimed at highlighting the science and economics of family and community investments in children and their caregivers in the areas of health, education, nutrition and social protection was held at Hilton Addis. The forum also discussed lessons learned from the Ebola experience in West Africa on how to strengthen systems before acute disruptions to ensure that children do not fall through the cracks.
Director of IYCG Kimber Bogard said: "The goal of the forum is to bridge the gap between science and policy. We want to inform policy makers, international organizations and donors about what we know are good investment in children and their caregivers and call on them to help create these opportunities for all children."Scientists and experts lose gaps between research and policy on early childhood, he added. "We know what to do; now it is our shared responsibility to act, prioritize investing in children and their families in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."
Addressing the gathering, Health State Minster Dr. Kebede Worku said the Constitution clearly stipulates the rights of women and children. Thus, the government has been aggressively investing to improve maternal and newborn health, among others.Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs Child Right Promotion and Protection Directorate Director Yayesh Tesfahuney said that Ethiopia has made major strides in enrolling school age children into school. "We still have left out children who are unable to attend pre-school education. We need to work on that."
Education Ministry School Improvement Programme Directorate Acting Director Yasabu Birkeneh said pre-school coverage in the country is currently at 34.7 per cent from 4.6 per cent."To bridge the gaps, the one-year pre-school also called zero classes under the School Readiness Programme (SRP) offers an immediate solution with no additional infrastructure or human resource requirements providing a low cost alternative with limited resources."
During the Forum, Bernard Van Leer Foundation launched a special edition of the journal Early Childhood Matters, a survey of the current state of knowledge across early childhood field.Foundation Executive Director Micheal Feigelson said: "The knowledge and experience that is shared proves that we know what can be effective to improve the lives and potential of children. Now it is time to act and to break the cycle of poverty that is crippling so many countries. Supporting children and their families is key to this." Over 100 international and regional scientists and decision makers gathered to attend the three-day forum.