Policy Dialogue on Early Childhood Development

Investing in Early Years
Introduction and Background

One of the most sensitive phases in human development extends from the prenatal period up to the age of 8 years, a period characterized by rapid brain development and the acquisition of foundational skills and competencies. Multiple studies have shown that capitalizing on and investing in early childhood development (ECD) interventions accrue long-term economic and social returns to society. Nevertheless, to be beneficial such investments need to be mindful of the overall health and nutritional status of the child, given that an unhealthy or malnourished child gains minimal benefits from such early education and stimulation. ECD interventions are hence cross-sectoral in nature, requiring integration across multiple sectors, including health, nutrition, early stimulation, education and child protection.

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