A child’s start in life can define a society’s growth and prosperity. The evidence is overwhelming: investing in early childhood (the period between pregnancy and 8 years of age) has the greatest impact on a child’s life trajectory and is foundational to lifelong health, well being, learning, and productivity. The first 1,000 days is even more critical as 80% of a baby’s brain is formed.

Critical to early childhood development (ECD) is an investment in nurturing care, or the conditions that enable parents, primary caregivers, and communities to support children’s health, nutrition, safety and security, responsive care, and learning.

The estimates are bleak: 250 million children below the age of 5 in low- and middle-income countries may be detrimentally impacted. However, every $1 invested in ECD interventions can see a $13 return on investment.

For these reasons, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is supporting the May 23rd launch of the Nurturing Care for Early Childhood Development (ECD) Framework, along with a coalition of agencies led by the World Health Organization (WHO); UNICEF; the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (PMNHC); and the Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN).

On May 23, 2018, the Aga Khan Foundation and global leaders marked the launch of this framework with a celebratory event in Geneva. View a live recording of the launch below:

The AKDN joins these voices in support of the Nurturing Care Framework and calling on governments and ministries of health to prioritize policies and financing for young children, especially during the first 1,000 days of life.

AKDN’s 100 years of dedication to education and health serves as the foundation of our 30-year ECD programming. We take this opportunity to recommit ourselves to the ECD agenda and look forward to working alongside partners to help governments establish policies and financing so the youngest children around the world not only survive, but also thrive.

Michael Kocher, Aga Khan Foundation
Gijs Walraven, Aga Khan Health Services