Thursday, August 6, 2009
I had an interesting conversation with a colleague about the direction that the Early Childhood Development (ECD) community is heading, especially in light of increased emphasis on ECD in emergency settings. Because the roots of ECD are grounded in development, it is a difficult transition to examine the non-developmental aspects of ECD in emergencies. Yes, one of the most important issues affecting very young children in crisis-affected settings is the impact on their development (from stimulation, separation from caregiver, etc.) because this has such long-term implications for young children as they transition into adolescence and adulthood and even greater implications for the development of nations and future investments in populations. However, in emergencies, there should be an equal importance placed on safety and protection issues, such as addressing the fact that young children are disproportionately affected by natural disasters. It is necessary to rethink ECD through multiple lenses.