In a three year time period, ChildFund International will indirectly reach 600,000 children and 900,000 parents/caregivers through measurable, quality, and high impact ECD programs. ChildFund International is a community-based child development organization that operates in 31 countries globally, working through more than 550 local partners to provide a broad range of child development services to deprived, excluded, and vulnerable children. Through this commitment, ChildFund will develop programs and implementation models, train independent community-based organizations to implement these programs, and provide operating funds to these local organizations. This model is designed to provide capacity building and resources to local organizations, thus ensuring long-term sustainability and community ownership of the programs. ChildFund's national and international staff will provide regular monitoring and evaluation of local partners to ensure program quality and accountability.
In the six focus countries of Ecuador, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, and Senegal, ChildFund International commits to training and supporting local partners as they implement ECD programs in the following areas:
- Safe and Caring Environment with Responsive Caregivers: ChildFund will train local partners on caregiver education programs that teach parents, grandparents, and others about skills for good interaction with infants and young children; strategies that help infants and young children learn behaviors that foster participation in community life, such as making choices, expressing opinions, listening to others, and working cooperatively; and on dangers and risks for infants and young children and preventative actions that can be taken.
- Access to Healthcare and Nutrition: ChildFund will develop - and support partners as they implement - programs on affordable and effective health care for mothers and young children; appropriate and adequate nutrition for infants and young children; and promoting healthy home environments.
- High Quality ECD Stimulation: ChildFund will work with implementing partners to open and run high quality preschools and parent/child playgroups, as well as to conduct home visits. To support this work, it will also work with partners to train home visitors, teachers, and volunteers.
Year One (July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013): Prepare, Launch, Build Awareness
- Hire additional key technical staff.
- Hold six country-launch meetings, including in-country initiative orientation workshops and trainings for staff and local implementing partners.
- Define program standards, which includes developing the program strategy and implementation plan with national staff and implementing partners. Work with national staff and implementing partners to roll out implementation plan. Hold program assessments and staff consultations to create common standards across the program regions.
- Implement a global monitoring and evaluation plan with a defined learning agenda, which includes global consultations with international, regional, and national monitoring and evaluation staff to create and set indicators. Implement baseline assessments and to set in place a monitoring system which reflects field results.
Year Two (July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014): Expand and Engage
- Expand program reach in six national offices, which includes modifying program strategy where needed, recruiting and collaborating with additional local implementing partners, and orienting and training them on this initiative.
- Disseminate initial learnings and conduct analysis of year one monitoring.
- Refine policy and external engagement to promote early child development. Based on Year One learnings, work with national staff and implementing partners to create in-country policy assessments and advocacy action plans with ChildFund national staff and implementing partners.
Year Three (July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015): Learn, Recognize, Scale-up
- Expand country coverage.
- Hold global learning event with key staff, and follow up consultations to lay ground-work for ramping up for the
- Deepen activities in all six national offices across three program areas, including: expanding national level partnerships; ensuring interventions reach children across all domains of health, early stimulation, and responsive caregiving; and advocating for effective national government policies based on results from program models.
Infants and young children are the most deprived, excluded, and vulnerable age group in the world today. Two hundred million children under five fail to meet their developmental potential due to poverty, inadequate learning opportunities, and nutritional deficiencies (Grantham-McGregor, 2006). This number represents roughly one-third of the world's children under the age of five, and does not include the 20 million children who die before their fifth birthday (Shonkoff, 2012). These conditions are associated with long-lasting changes in brain development, poor academic attainment, decreased employment opportunities as adults, higher risk of teen pregnancy, greater likelihood of being incarcerated, poor physical growth, and greater incidence of chronic diseases in adulthood. There is increasing evidence that interventions aimed at improving child development also improve child survival (Ibid.). The children most likely to thrive in situations of deprivation and adversity are those who have a consistent, responsive caregiver early in life.
ChildFund International is making an organizational commitment to address this urgent development challenge over the next five years. During the first phase, from 2012-2015, ChildFund International will reach 600,000 children; during the second phase, from 2015-2017, ChildFund will reach an additional 400,000 children, totaling one million children reached over five years. The rest of this document focuses on Phase One as ChildFund's commitment. Collectively, the international community has a real opportunity to make a striking impact on the future by acting now on behalf of very young children, by expanding the quality and access to comprehensive Early Childhood Development (ECD) services. The cost of providing this now is far less than the cost of future remediation.