Investing in young children for high returns – read the new World Bank report

Published January 14, 2015

‘Investing in young children is not only the right thing to do from an ethical point of view, but it is also the smart thing to do from an economic point of view for the children, as well as for their families, their communities, and society at large.’

Early Childhood Development (ECD) interventions are essential for a child’s growth and development. But even though investments in ECD projects as well as in analytical and capacity building work related to ECD have increased considerably in the last few years, more can and has to be done to convince policy makers and practitioners to truly place ECD policies and programs at the core of their national development strategies. This is why the World Bank has created the report ‘Stepping Up Early Childhood Development’, a simple guide for policy makers and practitioners about how to invest in young children.

It identifies 25 essential ECD interventions that can be delivered through five integrated packages at different stages in a child’s life, spanning the education, health, nutrition, water, sanitation, and social protection sectors. These five packages of interventions are: 25 key interventions for young children – World Bank

  • the family support package,
  • the pregnancy package,
  • the birth package,
  • the child health and development package, and
    the preschool package.

The document also lays out four simple principles that countries can follow to design and implement successful ECD strategies:

  • prepare an ECD diagnostic and strategy;
  • implement widely through coordination;
  • create synergies and cost savings through integrated interventions; and
  • monitor, evaluate, and scale up successful interventions.

Bernard van Leer Foundation’s Senior Advisor Joan Lombardi contributed to the realization of this report.