In August 2016, the world’s attention was arrested by the image of Omran Daqneesh — a five-year-old boy pulled out of the rubble of his home in Aleppo. Covered in dust and blood, the dazed little boy looks straight at the camera before him.
At only five years old, Omran has known a great deal of insecurity, violence and trauma from the war in Syria, now in its sixth year. Living in the besieged city of Aleppo, threats of physical violence and trauma are compounded by a lack of access to the most basic services: health care, nutrition, early learning opportunities and psychosocial support. Without these services, Omran and millions of babies and children like him that survive wars and emergencies may have severely limited prospects throughout the rest of their lives.
What’s true for the children of Syria is true for millions of the youngest children living in violence, conflict, and natural disasters. Vital physical, socioemotional and cognitive needs are too often overlooked in humanitarian response, leaving children and their families farther behind. Not planning for and financing early childhood development services in emergencies — ensuring Safe Spaces for all children — where children can be protected, nurtured and receive vital services and where caregivers can get critical support, is an issue that needs urgent attention.
The future depends on it.
The first years of life are the most critical for a child’s development, laying the foundation for years to come. During these years chronic malnutrition, poor health, lack of mental stimulation, abuse, neglect and toxic stress can impair the healthy development of both body and brain, with long-term consequences on a child’s health, learning, and behaviour. What science now tells us about the first few months and years of life in particular demonstrates clearly how important comprehensive Early Childhood Development (ECD) services are not only to children, but also to families, communities and economies.
In emergency contexts — violence, conflict, natural disaster, epidemics — babies and very young children are especially vulnerable. In 2015 alone, UNICEF estimated that as many as 16 million babies were born into conflict settings, and according to UNHCR, half of the world’s refugees today are children. After five years of war in Syria, 3.7 million children — or one in three of all Syrian children — have only ever known life in a violent conflict, and 306,000 Syrian babies were born as refugees. In disasters caused by climate change, around 250,000 children under the age of five die each year.
Children of all ages in crisis settings face tremendous vulnerability and risk of physical harm, exploitation, lack of educational opportunities and psychological trauma. The very youngest — those whose brains and bodies are developing the most rapidly — face additional challenges as the physical deprivation, psychological trauma, toxic stress and inadequate cognitive and socioemotional development can have long-lasting impacts on their ability to learn, grow and recover.
The impact these traumatic experiences can have on a child’s long term development means that babies and toddlers absolutely cannot afford to wait for the end of a crisis to learn, play, and receive holistic care. It is therefore essential that humanitarian response not only addresses the immediate physical survival needs of children but also supports their psychological, emotional and cognitive health and development and protects their future potential.
Globally, however, access to comprehensive ECD services remains severely limited and more than 200 million children under the age of five fail to reach their full developmental potential. Access to ECD services is even more dire in emergency settings, when family and social networks are torn apart and social service delivery is interrupted.
Many international organisations already recognise the critical importance of supporting the youngest in emergency settings and have developed and implemented successful early childhood development interventions, but on a large scale ECD remains seriously under-prioritised in emergency response. While nutrition and health sector interventions almost always include targets for the youngest children, current humanitarian response plans generally overlook the specific cognitive and psychosocial needs of babies and toddlers and a ‘whole child’ approach for the youngest children is visibly absent. Over 60 per cent of active 2016 humanitarian response plans, flash appeals and refugee response plans do not include comprehensive ECD services, early childhood development or early childhood education within education sector responses.
Where quality early childhood targets and programmes do exist, too often resources are inadequate to tackle the scale of the problem, so that many babies and children slip through the cracks. Humanitarian response plans are chronically underfunded and thus are unable to achieve the promised scope of the response.
Over 60 per cent of active 2016 humanitarian response plans, flash appeals and refugee response plans do not include comprehensive ECD services, early childhood development or early childhood education within education sector responses.
More than halfway through 2016, only 37 per cent of required funding for active humanitarian response plans had been provided. In Lebanon and Turkey, for example, insufficient resources and capacity mean that most Syrian refugees as well as local Turkish and Lebanese children have seriously limited access to early childhood provision.
We must do better.
All babies, young children and their caregivers living through emergencies urgently need Safe Spaces where they can access everything children need to grow and thrive in emergency, conflict or vulnerable environments. These “Safe Spaces” are effectively holistic early childhood development centres for crisis contexts, providing protection, physical and psychological support, opportunities for play and early learning, access to clean water and sanitation, and support for caregivers.
This paper highlights that while a great deal of work has already been done to bring Safe Spaces to children in emergencies, too often these efforts have been fragmented or have not targeted the youngest children. We need increased prioritisation and donor investment to make these efforts systematic and far reaching and to expand the capacity of existing programmes so that no children are left behind.
Despite young children’s immense vulnerability, the situation is not hopeless. Children are incredibly adaptable and resilient, and with proper support for their physical, mental and socioemotional health and development and close relationships with nurturing caregivers, children can not only survive emergencies but manage to thrive in spite of even the most adverse circumstances.
Holistic Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes can be lifesaving for the youngest children in emergencies, both in the short and the long term, and are vital to ensuring children not only survive, but have the best start for a good future.
During a crisis, children need holistic ECD programmes — Safe Spaces — to offer protection, support their physical health and safety, provide psychological and emotional support, reduce stress and build resilience, provide a safe place to play and learn, give access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities and offer much needed assistance to caregivers. In addition to supporting children’s wellbeing, ECD programmes are shown to have a long-term positive impact on the wider community, by improving equity, reducing violence, and fostering integration and peace building.
Children in conflict settings or displaced after a disaster face multiple forms of physical risk, including injury, abuse, sexual violence, child labour, trafficking and death. Children have increasingly become the victims of violence; CARE International reports that since 1945, civilians have made up 90% of casualties in armed conflict — 75% women and children.
The gravest violations against children in armed conflict are presented in the Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, which notes that between January and December 2015, the UN verified the death, maiming or injury due to armed conflict of more than 10,000 children. According to UNICEF, nearly 87 million children under seven years of age have spent their entire lives in conflict settings. In disasters caused by climate change, UNICEF found that around 250,000 children under the age of five die each year.
In addition, emergencies also put young children at risk for indirect physical harm, from food deprivation, poor health care, inadequate shelter, lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitation and hygiene, overcrowding, unsafe environments, neglect and displacement. For children under five, the risk of death and disease in emergency situations can be twenty times higher than normal.16 In crisis, children under five have the highest rates of any age group of both illness and death.
If children survive, a lack of physical security during emergencies can haunt them for life, leading to poor developmental outcomes with potentially irreversible impacts on their growth, health and wellbeing. Children who are chronically malnourished, for example, experience permanently stunted growth and “suffer lasting behavioural and cognitive deficits, including slower language and fine motor development, lower IQ, and poorer school performance.” Children born in emergency contexts, particularly those who have been displaced as refugees, also frequently face lifelong vulnerabilities as a result of not obtaining birth certificates. Without valid birth certificates, these children face challenges to obtaining adequate health care, enrolling in school and seeking the protection of the public justice system and may even be at risk of statelessness.
Children require physical protection and an environment where they can play and learn safely — a place where they are not only out of reach of immediate physical threats, but have what they need to continue to grow.
Feeding programmes for children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers, supplements to ensure children receive essential nutrients, WASH facilities and a safe place for mothers to breastfeed are essential. Health interventions such as check- ups, vaccinations and screening for healthy growth can also take place at ECD centres or alongside nutritional programmes. Combined, these interventions help guarantee that children are not only safe from direct threats, but also buffered against the indirect physical effects of emergencies, including illness and malnutrition.
Safe Spaces can also be places to teach the youngest children about essential survival and safety skills for life in an emergency setting. This information — such as avoiding landmines, what to do in case of natural disaster, first aid, the importance of hand washing, etc. — can be critical to children’s survival but may not be information that parents readily know.
The greatest protection for the youngest children is quality childcare in a safe and supportive environment. Lack of access to quality childcare is a global crisis but is nowhere worse than in traumatic situations where caregivers need as much support as possible. In emergency settings, caregivers often do not have the financial, physical or emotional resources to provide high quality childcare full time,and so they are forced to leave young children alone or supervised by other children. This can result in children being bored, under- stimulated, and at risk for accidents, neglect or exploitation. Safe Spaces can offer caregivers a place where they can leave young children during the day, knowing they are receiving nurturing, supportive care and are actively engaged in activities 21 as well as peace of mind that their children are playing in a safe environment. The need for Safe Spaces and quality childcare in emergencies is even more acute for children who are unaccompanied, separated from their families or orphaned.
The World Health Organization recommends mothers exclusively breastfeed children for the first six months of life; breast milk is the best source of nutrition and health in these early months, supplying not only the right balance of protein, fat and nutrients, but also providing children with antibodies to fight off illness. The composition of breast milk adapts to suit a growing baby’s needs and even changes when a child is sick in order to help fight off infection. Under normal circumstances, children who are breastfed at all are six times more likely to survive and children who are breastfed exclusively are 14 times more likely to survive than non-breastfed children.
Breastfeeding is even more critical in emergencies. Use of infant formulas can pose severe risks, increasing children’s risk for malnutrition, disease and even death. Formula mixed with unclean water or prepared in unhygienic conditions can result in diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases and subsequent dehydration and malnutrition.
Research has shown that almost 95% of under-5 mortality in emergencies is due to diarrhoea caused by dirty water or inadequate hygiene. Insufficient supplies of formula can force mothers to water down the milk, also putting children at risk for malnutrition. In contrast, breast milk is the most sustainable source of nutrition, costs nothing and protects children from unsafe water and poor hygiene.
Breastfeeding definitely becomes more challenging in emergencies, as lack of privacy, significant demands on mothers’ time for survival and stress can make exclusive nursing more difficult, but it remains the safest option for babies. Popular misconceptions that maternal malnutrition and stress impede milk production have also been proven false. While donations of infant formula have remained popular, what mothers really need is support and assistance to continue breastfeeding, including coaching, information on breastfeeding and child nutrition, additional food and water,and a safe and private place to nurse.
With this support, crises can actually be a moment of opportunity for improving child nutrition, if more mothers can learn about and begin practising exclusive breastfeeding and take these habits forward past the emergency.
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical storms ever recorded, struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, killing 6,340 individuals and displacing more than 4 million.30 Within two weeks of the crisis, World Vision began setting up “Women and Young Children Spaces” in tents, to support the needs of pregnant and nursing mothers and their infants and toddlers.
To address the significant challenges of breastfeeding in an emergency environment, World Vision’s centres offered mothers a safe, private place to nurse their children, held health education sessions, provided information and discussion on nutrition topics including the importance of breastfeeding, and even taught mothers nutritious recipes using local ingredients. The centres conducted rapid nutrition assessments to refer malnourished children to appropriate care and provided supplemental feeding for mothers and toddlers. Additionally, the spaces provided a mental safe haven for women, where they could rest and relax, socialise with other mothers, play with their children using age-appropriate toys and receive psychological support. Through these “Women and Young Children Spaces,” World Vision gave out breastfeeding kits to 1,159 mothers, which included a scarf, a tumbler, and a sealable milk container to enable breastfeeding in all locations, as well as baby kits with items such as soap and mittens. By February 2014, World Vision had set up.14 tents and reached more than 1,300 women and children, protecting some of the most vulnerable babies and toddlers from malnutrition and inadequate development.
World Vision also constructed 59 Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs) aimed at supporting the physical, cognitive and psychological needs of children ages 3-15. First opened in the remote area of Tabugon in Cebu province less than two weeks after the typhoon and later expanded to reach a total of 21,813 children in seven provinces, these spaces offered children a safe place to play and learn and protected them from abuse, trafficking, child labour and other forms of exploitation.
Trained staff members provided psychological support through activities such as art projects, games, and sports. Social workers were available to help children cope with their experiences. The centres also hosted informal learning opportunities so that children would not fall too far behind academically, and provided information about staying safe and what to do in case of an emergency. The CFSs were created specifically for children, but also provided mothers with a chance to meet, rest and get chores done without worrying about the safety of their children. After running the programme for five months, World Vision turned the leadership and control over to local leaders to ensure its continued sustainability.
While humanitarian responses typically focus on physical needs for the youngest — in part due to inadequate resources — negative experiences due to crisis can also lead to poor cognitive and socioemotional development for young children, hampering their future learning and increasing their risk for long-term health and behaviour problems.
The brain is supposed to undergo its most rapid period of development in early childhood, with 80% of brain development completed by age 3. However, toxic stress impedes this development, leading to fewer neural connections in the areas of the brain devoted to learning and reasoning and increasing the risk for developmental delays and learning disabilities. Without the proper response to counter these effects, children who experience toxic stress are at serious risk for inadequate cognitive development and difficulties learning, concentrating and regulating emotions. Toxic stress also has a long-term impact on children’s wellbeing, increasing their risk for illness such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression and substance abuse, and affecting social behaviour and interpersonal relationships.
Serious or prolonged exposure in early childhood to high levels of stress from trauma, violence, abuse, neglect or deprivation — called “toxic stress” — can inhibit the healthy development of brain architecture, with potential lifelong repercussions
Coupled with toxic stress, the absence of safe places to play and learn can also hamper healthy mental and linguistic development for babies and children. During the period of rapid brain development in the first years, a child develops 700 new neural connections per second. As the child grows, the neural connections that are repeatedly used become stronger and more efficient, while those left unused are weakened or pruned. As “experiences and environment dictate which circuits and connections get more use,” missing out on critical communication, early learning and play due to an emergency can significantly impact children’s brain architecture, impair the acquisition of basic skills and impede children’s eventual access to and success in school.
In emergency settings, children are at particular risk to barriers to healthy cognitive development and early learning, including lack of safe places to play, caregivers who are too busy or stressed to provide adequate cognitive stimulation, the disintegration of traditional care networks and the absence of quality pre-primary opportunities. In these circumstances, children can miss out on critical brain development and early learning experiences, putting them at a disadvantage for life.
Science shows that the best way to combat or prevent the ill effects of toxic stress on young children is a stable, supportive and nurturing relationship with a parent or other committed adult. These types of relationships buffer the effects of stress, protect healthy development and foster resilience in young children.42 They also “build key capacities — such as the ability to plan, monitor and regulate behaviour, and adapt to changing circumstances — that enable children to respond to adversity and to thrive” even in the wake of an emergency
ECD programmes can help build resilience and combat toxic stress in several ways. First, ECD initiatives can teach parents and caregivers how best to support their children’s physical, mental and psycho-emotional development in emergency settings and how to help children cope with trauma and stress. This training can take place in group settings, through classes and support groups, in combination with other services such as healthcare or food distribution or through home visiting programmes.
In many cases, however, primary caregivers are unable to provide children with all the support necessary to combatting toxic stress. In emergencies, caregivers can be absent or deceased, injured, ill, traumatised, violent or otherwise unable to provide adequate support, so children are left without their primary buffer against the effects of toxic stress. It is therefore essential to also have Safe Spaces — comprehensive ECD centres — that can provide children with access to a nurturing relationship with another adult, so that no children (or parents) are left to combat stress alone.
Refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children.
After a tsunami, in the midst of conflict, or in a refugee camp, the opportunities for play and learning are seriously lacking and caregivers are often left without the time, energy or resources to provide this mental stimulation. Humanitarian response rarely includes early learning programmes for young children, particularly for those younger than 4, despite the fact that support for children’s mental development is equally as important as food and shelter. Many child-focused programmes only target ages 3+ or do not focus on learning until a child begins primary schooling, but for many children, especially for those born in emergencies, this can be far too late.
Cognitive stimulation, communication and opportunities to play and learn are critical to a child’s brain development, laying the foundation for future skills, learning and behaviour. ECD programmes provide these essential stimulation and early learning experiences for the youngest children, diminish time spent idle or unsupervised and offer children a comforting return to routine and normalcy. In addition to pre-primary classes for older children (ages 4-6), early learning interventions should include support for caregivers, quality childcare and a safe place to play and learn through games, art, music and other activities.
In addition to supporting healthy development, early learning programmes increase young children’s readiness for school, improve learning outcomes and decrease the likelihood that a child will repeat a grade or drop out. Increasing school readiness is even more important in emergency settings, as children living through conflict are much more likely to be excluded from school or fall behind academically. For example, refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non- refugee children.
Early learning support can be particularly useful for young refugees living in a foreign host country where classes are taught in a different language. In Lebanon, for example, Syrian refugee children have struggled to make progress in school, as more advanced classes are typically taught in French or English rather than Arabic. With the average length of displacement now at 17 years, teaching the youngest children the language and skills they will need for success in the host country’s education system allows these refugees to start school ready to learn rather than already behind.
These early learning interventions during an emergency are an important long-term investment in human and social capital, providing children with better chances for future success and prosperity, helping to break the cycle of poverty and shaping a future generation that will be key to rebuilding post-disaster.
Early learning opportunities in the Central African Republic (CAR), one of the world’s poorest countries, are abysmal; a mere 5.6% of children are enrolled in pre-primary schools and just 70% are in primary school. Nearly all existing ECD services operate in the capital, excluding rural children. Multi-sector collaboration on services for children under age two is non-existent.
Since conflict broke out in 2013, around six thousand people have been killed and a quarter of the population displaced. Over 400,000 refugees have fled to neighbouring Cameroon, Chad, the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and an additional 400,000 are internally displaced within CAR. Displacement, insecurity and deepening of poverty due to the conflict have restricted access to health care, adequate nutrition and education, especially for the most vulnerable. While conflict typically worsens access to and quality of early childhood development services, in this case, “the conflict provided the opportunity, additional funding and technical expertise to expand ECD services.” Plan International and UNICEF were able to leverage incoming humanitarian aid and increased attention on the situation in CAR to expand access to preschools during the crisis and improve national level ECD policy.
To improve the provision of ECD services, Plan and UNICEF, in cooperation with the CAR government, implemented an ECD-model piloted by PLAN in other African countries called Community-Led Action for Children (CLAC).
The first component of this programme was supporting government expansion of early learning programmes and preschools for 3-6 year olds as well as building Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs).
New preschools were added to existing schools to smooth children’s transition into primary school. These early learning programmes operated roughly 25 hours per week, and included play and early learning activities as well as school feeding programmes and WASH facilities. The creation of new preschools deliberately targeted areas most affected by the conflict and the most vulnerable children, including orphans and internally displaced persons.
Expansion of early learning services was coupled with the introduction of parental education, covering topics on early childhood development, childhood health, nutrition, hygiene, the importance of play and ways to provide children with psychosocial support. Participants could also initiate discussions on other topics of interest to them. Sessions were created and run in conjunction with local leaders, to ensure contextual appropriateness, sustainability and local ownership. Caregivers were welcome to bring children to the sessions, eliminating the need for alternative childcare.This case demonstrates that while emergency situations typically worsen services for young children, crisis can actually offer the opportunity to improve children’s situation. Humanitarian assistance — and the potential it brings for increased financing, resources, political will and expertise — can be used to advocate for better early childhood programmes than existed before an emergency and can make substantive positive change beyond merely supporting basic survival.
"In a recent study of Syrian refugee children, 45% displayed symptoms of PTSD, a rate 10 times higher than children surveyed in other parts of the world."
The mental and emotional risks faced by children are equally as pressing as the physical dangers. While it may be easy to assume that babies and small children are less affected by crisis because they do not understand what is happening around them, brain science has demonstrated that young children are in fact significantly impacted by stress and trauma. In addition to the effects that toxic stress has on brain development, trauma and crisis can also leave children with psychological scars that impact their wellbeing for years to come.
Children in emergencies undergo psychological trauma from experiences such as the death or separation of family and friends, witnessing violence, losing or being forced to flee home, deprivation and discrimination. These traumatic events can lead children to experience numerous psychological issues, including anxiety, depression, low self- esteem, lack of trust in others, nightmares, bedwetting, memory loss, aggression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In a recent study of Syrian refugee children, 45% displayed symptoms of PTSD, a rate 10 times higher than children surveyed in other parts of the world. Without proper support, these psychological challenges can seriously affect children’s quality of life and ability to thrive.
The youngest children need programmes that provide psychological and socioemotional support to counteract the effects of crisis and stress. ECD programmes furnish young children with a safe place to come to terms with their experiences, work through their trauma and get support from a qualified health professional if needed.
In emergency settings, young children have few opportunities to process their emotions with supportive adults. Emergencies are acutely stressful for adults as well as children and traumatised caregivers often struggle to provide the psychological and nurturing support that young children need to cope with psychological trauma and toxic stress. Parents and caregivers can be reluctant to openly address children’s trauma; for example, children who experience violence often recreate it in their play, such as through role playing or art activities, but some evidence suggests that adults tend to stop these activities rather than encourage them as an outlet for children to work through trauma.
Due to their own severe stress, caregivers may also inadvertently “exacerbate the problems faced by their children by passing on their own fears and anxieties through, for example, being over-protective or holding anxious discussions with others from which the children are excluded.” Crisis environments also see increased incidences of parental depression and domestic violence.
Conversely, research has found that some children pretend to not remember traumatic events in order to “protect” their parents from recalling bad memories, which prevents children from receiving the support and comfort they need to mitigate the effects of these experiences. Safe Spaces can support children’s mental health by sharing information with parents and caregivers about ways to support children’s psychological needs and promoting healthy and healing parent-child interactions.
Safe Spaces can also provide children with access to other adults who can provide a stable and nurturing relationship, which is essential to combatting toxic stress. A truly safe space is one where children can experience a return to “normalcy” and routine after the stress and upheaval of crisis. Structured activities to support children’s psychological healing, such as opportunities to talk about their experiences, as well as unstructured activities like art and music can actively support processing and healing. One study of children living through the Lebanon-Israel war found that giving children toy puppies to care for and play with reduced their high levels of stress, while other studies of children post-natural disaster showed toys, role playing and art activities helped children reduce anxiety and regain feelings of safety.
Trained staff in ECD centres can also look out for the signs of more severe psychological trauma in young children and refer the child to a mental health professional (ideally offered as part of the ECD services). This centre-based psychological support is especially critical in emergency situations in which caregivers may be deceased, injured or traumatised themselves and many children are orphaned or unaccompanied.
Caregiver support is the lynchpin of comprehensive ECD services and an indispensable element of creating Safe Spaces for young children. Young children generally spend most of their time with caregivers, so access to Safe Spaces to learn, play, and develop needs to be combined with efforts to promote safe and supportive home environments.
Parents and caregivers are themselves often stressed, traumatised and overwhelmed and may not know the best ways to help their children cope with the situation.Caregiver wellbeing significantly influences child wellbeing, so support for caregivers is crucial. Adults with less stress, more information and more assistance are better equipped to adequately support young children and help create a positive situation and hope for the future even in the worst situations. Studies have shown that comprehensive ECD interventions improve maternal wellbeing, increase parental confidence and consequently improve the parent-child relationship and children’s development outcomes.
ECD services can aid caregivers in numerous ways:
- Provide training and information for mothers, fathers and other caregivers on how to best support children’s physical, mental and psychological development, how to help children deal with trauma and how to employ positive discipline and child-rearing methods.
- Provide areas for mothers to breastfeed and play with children in a safe environment.
- Provide caregivers with time for themselves, to rest, work and/or decompress.
- Serve as locations for adult support and learning, by offering places to meet informally with other caregivers, attend support groups and adult education classes, and build community.
Fleeing extreme violence in Darfur in 2003, more than 200,000 South Sudanese refugees crossed the border into Chad seeking safety. While the international community gradually established refugee camps to support the massive influx, refugees faced overcrowding, a severe lack of resources and dangerous landmines. After undergoing significant violence and deprivation, many children were sick, injured or traumatised; many had lost family members, more than 35% were malnourished and countless children suffered from psychosocial issues.
Looking to tackle both the acute malnutrition and the serious psychological trauma of the children, as well as provide support to their traumatised and overburdened caregivers, the refugee camps established Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs) in 2004. Within the camps, food distribution took place at 7am and 3pm, but most children and families had nothing to do in the intervening times, so the CFSs were established near the distribution sites, as a place where children ages 3-15 (as well as their caregivers) could spend time.
These centres provided immediate nutritional support to the malnourished children as well as a place to feel safe. Arts and crafts, sports and games were offered, in addition to opportunities for free play, psychological support activities and instruction on safety issues such as avoiding landmines. The nutritional and play interventions had synergistic effects on the children’s wellbeing, as explained by Connolly and Hayden (2007):
“The most vulnerable children are those in therapeutic or supplementary feeding. Emaciated children have no appetite. They just want to sit or lie with their mother. But children learn from each other. Seeing another child sit upright, they will start to sit upright. Then they say, ‘If they can run, why can’t I run?’ When they start being interested in playing, they also get an appetite.”
The CFSs also catered to the needs of the children’s caregivers. Children as young as three could attend the centres alone, leaving parents, siblings and other caregivers free to rest or work, while assured that their children were safe and well cared for. Though the main purpose of the spaces was child- centric, the CFSs also offered psychological support to adults as well as classes and training on early childhood development, literacy, etc. Targeting caregivers was a crucial component to the success of the program, as their wellbeing is essential to the wellbeing of children.
The CFSs were staffed by “community animators,” refugees from the community who received training on activities to promote healthy child development and reduce trauma. While these animators were typically not ECD specialists, their connection to the community and intimate understanding of the children’s situation enabled them to communicate and relate well with the children and their families and to tailor the activities to the local context. The camps also established “child protection committees” made up of refugees, whose remit was to monitor children’s rights within the camps, ensure the quality and sustainability of the CFSs and manage the running of child-centric programmes.
Further, the adult refugee’s direct involvement in the programme functioning helped provide them with a sense of normalcy and purpose and empowered the community to take ownership of the programme. The local leadership also significantly reduced initial costs, enabling a quick launch. A final unforeseen outcome was that the institution of CFSs in the camp revealed the need for ECD services in Chad more broadly and increased the demand for such programmes.
As a part of the psychological issues faced by children in emergencies, living through conflict has the potential to normalise violence, so that young children begin to accept and model greater levels of aggression. Research demonstrates that “when a child feels victimised by his or her environment or feels that the environment instigates aggression, the child is likely to act out aggressively.” Routine exposure to violence or trauma can therefore lead to decreased empathy and increased likelihood that a child will utilise violence in future interactions.
Further, toxic stress in young children has been shown to increase aggression and antisocial behavioural issues. Prolonged exposure to toxic stress programmes children’s stress response “to adapt to an environment that is ‘expected’ to remain adverse. As a result, the threshold for activation is lower and the ‘hair-trigger’ nature of the stress response results in greater risk for overly rigid and often aggressive behaviour.” Notably, these outcomes not only impact the health, achievement and wellbeing of individual children and their families, but also have repercussions for society more broadly and for future generations.
Several key components to combating this issue have already been mentioned — including promoting close relationships with supportive caregivers and providing psychological and socioemotional support. In addition to these interventions, ECD programmes can also reduce the normalisation of violence and the resort to aggressive behaviour in young children by teaching them problem- solving and conflict-resolution skills as well as self-control and emotional regulation. Studies have shown that children who attend a preschool with conflict-resolution concepts incorporated into the curriculum were better able to cope with and resolve interpersonal conflict.
More generally, ECD programmes can help children develop important positive social behaviours and skills that are key to conflict resolution and non-violent interactions, such as working together, sharing, communicating, helping and empathising with others.When interpersonal conflict and disagreements do arise, children will then be better equipped to manage the conflict constructively and work together to find a solution peacefully.
Though evidence is limited, ECD programming has also been shown to reduce violent behaviour in the long-term. A seminal study in Jamaica found that children who received cognitive stimulation and nutrition interventions in early childhood were less likely as adults to get into fights or to engage in serious violence behaviour or violent crime.
Globally, conflicts are becoming increasingly protracted with the average length of displacement now at 17 years. In addition to prolonged threats of physical insecurity, displacement, and damage to cognitive, emotional and psychosocial development, living through conflict can also inculcate prejudices and enmity towards opposing groups in young children, perpetuating ideas that fuel existing conflict. For example, a study of 3-6 year olds in Northern Ireland found that as early as age three, children begin to show preferences for the symbols, flags, and traditions of their own communities and by age six, about one third of the children were aware of which “side” of the conflict they belonged to. 90 per cent of six-year-olds could “demonstrate some awareness of the cultural/ political significance of at least one event or symbol” from their group and about 15 per cent of six-year- olds made sectarian or prejudiced statements against the other side. Awareness of the divide was shown to be most influenced by the family, the local community and the school.
Early childhood programmes can counteract this early entrenchment of social prejudices by implementing activities and curricula that highlight the values of tolerance, peace, inclusion, empathy and trust, that correct negative stereotypes about other groups, and that encourage respect and appreciation for cultural diversity, laying the foundation for individuals who are “confident, secure, and socially aware and who also respect cultural differences and are inclusive in their outlook.”
It is never too early to teach children (and their caregivers) conflict-resolution and problem- solving skills, offer the tools necessary to coexist with members of other groups and foster reconciliation and social cohesion. Research has shown that contact between opposing groups “is positively associated with empathy, and empathy is negatively associated with prejudice.” Therefore, in programmes where children from different groups and backgrounds are enrolled together, playing and learning side by side helps to break down stereotypes and marginalisation between the children and to instead promote inter-group empathy, understanding and even friendship. Implementing a multicultural curriculum that teaches children about the history, traditions and perspectives of various groups, promotes respect and appreciation for difference, and encourages children to understand and recognise the negative effects of prejudice or exclusion (as part of more general lessons on respecting the feelings of others) can further develop empathy between children from disparate groups.
Beyond impacting the children themselves, Safe Spaces can encourage peace building and social cohesion on a larger scale when children from different groups attend the same programmes and when parents are routinely involved in programme activities. By serving as places where adults from disparate groups — from opposing sides in a conflict or from both refugee and host communities — can come together regularly and connect over the shared experience of caring for young children, Safe Spaces can serve as a point of common ground for communities and allow for the building of inter- group trust and empathy which lays the foundations for peaceful relations. These centres can help foster reconciliation and integration by providing a space for adults to work through disagreements without resorting to violence, solve community issues and build trust. Since families play such a significant role in shaping children’s attitudes and worldview, improving empathy and understanding and promoting peaceful interactions between adults is key for supporting and reinforcing the lessons children learn in ECD centres about tolerance, respect, inclusion and empathy.
Finally, Early Childhood Development programmes can indirectly promote peace and social integration by reducing social and economic inequalities. Interventions in the earliest years have been shown to be the best way to level the playing field for disadvantaged children and close the achievement gap, making ECD programmes a key investment in equity. By supporting healthy development and reducing inequalities, ECD interventions can pave the way for more equal and peaceful societies and better social cohesion and stability in the long run.
"Interventions in the earliest years have been shown to be the best way to level the playing field for disadvantaged children and close the achievement gap, making ECD programmes a key investment in equity."
The nearly 50-year-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict has significantly affected the development, education and safety of numerous Palestinian children. The most recent iteration was the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, which broke out on 7 July 2014 and lasted 7 weeks. In September 2014, OCHA reported that children were 24% of the Palestinian civilians killed, 33% of those injured, and 50% of those left without homes. OCHA further reported that at least 116,000 Palestinian children were in need of specialised psychosocial support.
In 2012, UNICEF launched Learning for Peace, a four-year Peace building, Education, and Advocacy Programme (PBEA). In Palestine, the PBEA initiative aimed to support the education and healthy development of children, counteract the normalisation of violence, and foster peace and social cohesion in the long term by incorporating education into peace building initiatives and implementing conflict-sensitive curricula. For the youngest children, this meant expanding access to early learning programmes that emphasised values such as tolerance, sharing, respect and cultural sensitivity and taught children conflict-resolution and problem-solving skills (in addition to supporting their holistic development). UNICEF included pre- primary school children in the programme with the idea that “if children learn non-violent methods of expressing themselves and interacting with others at an early age, they are more likely to apply these skills when they are older, especially if the skills are modelled by teachers and parents.”
To implement this curriculum, in 2014 the PBEA programme provided training to more than 90 early learning teachers from both government-run and private schools. The lessons focused on age- appropriate learning, early childhood development and conflict-sensitive lessons and activities. The training consisted of ten, five-hour-long group sessions, followed by follow up on-site training tailored to the specific needs and context of each school. Two training sessions were also held for kindergarten principles, to give them insight into the particular experiences of preschool students and teachers. Teacher trainings were followed by visits from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, to ensure quality and the implementation of the conflict-sensitive curriculum, with additional visits planned for the future.
Access to ECD services was extremely limited in rural areas, so the PBEA programme opened 24 preschool classes in vulnerable and conflict-affected areas, extending early learning services to more than 2,300 pre-school aged children and 1300 first-grade children. The programme aimed to reach 3,600 children by the end of 2015.
Awareness of the importance of ECD was also low amongst parents, so the PBEA programme sponsored 173 parental training sessions and equipped parents with ECD materials. These sessions aimed to teach parents about the importance of ECD, promote parental involvement in children’s education and synchronise activities taking place at the ECD centres and at home. The sessions also aimed to address unequal gender norms in the community and promote equality in terms of education access and protection for all children.
While the long-term impact of the programme on peace and social cohesion cannot yet be measured, teachers reported feeling empowered with new information from the training sessions and seeing improvements in both their professional and personal lives. Kindergarten principals described increased parental engagement in young children’s learning following the parent training sessions and saw benefits of the programmes beyond schools in the local communities.
Young children are incredibly adaptable and resilient, and with proper support for their physical, mental and socioemotional health and development and close relationships with nurturing caregivers, children can not only survive emergencies but manage to thrive in spite of even the most adverse circumstances.
While young children are extremely vulnerable in conflict and emergency settings, the situation is not hopeless. Young children are incredibly adaptable and resilient, and with proper support for their physical, mental and socioemotional health and development and close relationships with nurturing caregivers, children can not only survive emergencies but manage to thrive in spite of even the most adverse circumstances. All of the evidence demonstrates that the youngest children need a holistic response in emergencies that provides support and care for all of their needs in a comprehensive rather than fragmented way.
The current humanitarian response architecture reveals a mixed record on prioritising early childhood interventions. The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) “Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies” explicitly includes ECD within the scope of education in emergencies and designates it as a key thematic issue for the network — clearly prioritising it among those implementing around the world.
Despite this, over 60 per cent of active 2016 humanitarian response plans, flash appeals and refugee response plans do not include ECD or early learning targets within education sector responses.
The humanitarian, refugee and regional response plans that outline plans, scope and funding requirements for emergency interventions rarely include holistic, targeted approaches to reach the youngest children with a full package of ECD interventions. A review of the 38 active humanitarian and refugee/regional response plans and flash appeals for 2016 reveals several significant gaps.
Of the 38 active response plans, only 10 — less than one third — make any mention of early childhood development, early childhood education or similar ECD terminology. ECD appears most often in refugee and regional response plans rather than individual country plans. While many humanitarian response plans have child-focused targets in multiple sectors, very few specify interventions aimed at reaching the youngest children. The term “children” in these response plans encompasses all individuals under 18 years of age and frequently, targets for this group focus on “school-age” children, typically those between 5 and 17 years old. The youngest children are clearly being overlooked, and while integrated and multi- sectorial approaches are suggested for school-aged children and adolescents, a “whole child” approach for the youngest children is visibly absent.
One notable exception to this trend is the approach taken by the nutrition sector. Nutrition sector plans consistently include strategic objectives and indicators targeted to reach children under five and pregnant and nursing mothers. The health sector also frequently includes targets for the youngest children regarding vaccinations, safe pregnancy and childbirth services.
In addition, while many humanitarian response plans explicitly frame a multi-sectorial approach to addressing pressing survival needs, this tends to be focused on the intersection and coordination of the health, nutrition, food security and WASH sectors. Rarely are the education and protection/child protection sector responses explicitly incorporated into this multi-sector approach. With regards to the youngest children, in fact, very few education or protection/child protection sector plans include any specific mention of the needs of those in early childhood. Protection or child protection sector responses frequently include focused targets on children as a recognised vulnerable population. However, these plans refer to “children” as encompassing all ages below 18 years. Twelve protection sector (or refugee response sector) plans, however, do include specific provisions and targets to ensure birth registration, especially for refugee populations. Ensuring that all babies receive birth certificates is a crucial aspect of their lifelong protection, without which they are vulnerable to statelessness and significant barriers to accessing social services including health care and education. Currently, more than one in four children under 5 have not been registered at birth, and in the poorest countries, almost half have not been registered by their fifth birthday.
While 20 active protection sector response plans specifically call for provision of and support for “Child Friendly Spaces,” these are typically aimed at meeting the needs of unaccompanied minors, children rescued from or vulnerable to recruitment into armed groups, and girls who may otherwise be subjected to gender- based violence (GBV). Child Friendly Spaces are important for providing protection and psychosocial support for children in emergencies; however, only two active humanitarian response plans (Honduras and Ethiopia), include specific targets to provide Safe Spaces for the youngest children, such as day-care or ECD centres.
While the majority of protection sector responses include “children” as a vulnerable group and explicitly urge the need for child friendly spaces, these responses classify all individuals under 18 years of age as “children.” While CFSs are included as specific targets in many of these plans, they are not targeted at the youngest, but rather geared implicitly, or in some cases explicitly, to school-age and/or unaccompanied children and adolescents who may otherwise be vulnerable to child labour or recruitment to armed groups and gender-based violence (GBV). Out of the 38 humanitarian and refugee response plans surveyed, only two plans included specific mentions of Safe Spaces for the youngest children — Honduras and Ethiopia.
Honduras: “In coordination with municipal authorities ... ensure the operation of child care centres to guarantee day-care for children and reduce risks of abandonment with child friendly spaces.”
Ethiopia (within South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan): Almost 70 per cent of South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia are children and the Ethiopia Response Plan places a high emphasis on child protection and education. Among the planned response activities listed for the protection sector, this plan includes specific support to ECD centres:
“Strengthening child protection response, including case management, Best Interest Procedures, support for unaccompanied and separated children (including family tracing and reunification and foster care arrangements), adolescent programming, psychosocial support and establishment of CFS and ECD centres.”
Fiji Cyclone Flash Appeal: The Fiji Cyclone Flash appeal includes “Provision of psychosocial support to early childhood and primary school children” as a priority action for the education sector response.
Eight out of the top ten organisations have integrated ECD into their strategic objectives or have implemented programmes including ECD components within the last years according to their most recently available Annual Review or Strategy Document.
The evidence is clear; comprehensive early childhood development services are indispensable for the health, safety and development of the youngest children in emergencies. The combination of young children’s immense vulnerability and the rapid rate of development in early childhood means that experiences in the first years of life have a profound long-term impact on their wellbeing.
Nurturing relationships, solid support for healthy development, quality childcare and safe places to play and address psychological trauma can buffer children from negative outcomes even in the most traumatic of circumstances. What’s more, ECD programmes that promote pro-social behaviour and values such as tolerance, inclusion and empathy between different groups can foster reconciliation and social cohesion in the long term, contributing to more peaceful and stable societies.
Many international organisations, such as UNICEF and PLAN International, are already providing holistic ECD programming in emergency settings and have created extensive tools and frameworks to guide future implementation. These guidelines emphasise the importance of local ownership and context-specific interventions to ensure programme sustainability and community empowerment. An appalling lack of prioritisation and a dearth of donor funding has prevented these tools from being systematically adopted and implemented within the existing humanitarian aid system, continuing to leave millions of the youngest children at serious risk. It is urgent that the very youngest babies and children have access to Safe Spaces in emergencies, where they can be protected, nurtured and receive the vital care they need to reach their full potential.
Establish “Safe Spaces” for pregnant women, mothers and caregivers, and young children (0-5) in emergencies where their physical, cognitive and psychosocial needs can be met.
As much as possible, the local community should be involved in the design and management of these programmes in order to ensure local ownership and empowerment, guarantee cultural relevance, build local capacity and provide long-term sustainability.
Safe Spaces do not need to be specially constructed locations or dedicated centres. They can be built in existing structures such as primary schools or community centres, incorporated into existing services like health clinics, created in mobile spaces in order to reach more children or even held in temporary spots like in tents or under trees.
The primary requirement is that the space provides a safe and structured environment where children’s needs are met. Even entire communities can be considered Safe Spaces if all the things a child needs are available and easy for caregivers to access.
To create a Safe Space, start by looking at 1) what needs are most urgent and 2) what services and structures already exist; comprehensive ECD programmes can be built from there. Identifying which needs are most urgent does not mean supporting only one type of intervention, but rather can help “inform decisions about which sectors’ responses provide the most effective avenue by which ECD programming components can be mainstreamed.” For example, in a drought, malnutrition might be the most immediate problem facing young children, so the first interventions are likely to centre on supplementary feeding, access to clean water and other nutritional support. In this situation, other ECD services — such as childcare, early learning and health care — can be added into the nutritional interventions for the most effective delivery. Identifying existing structures and services allows for the development of Safe Spaces using fewer resources and without risk of duplication.
￼￼All humanitarian response plans should include targets holistically addressing the needs of babies and children ages 0-5.
Humanitarian responses should incorporate multi- sector, crosscutting ECD services in their plans, including in particular child care, psychosocial support and early learning programmes, and should call explicitly for Safe Spaces for these children. The needs of babies and the youngest children must be provided for across all relevant sectors, including education and protection. Multi-sectorial approaches and collaboration should encompass not merely physical needs such as nutrition, health and WASH, but should also incorporate protection and education responses to address cognitive and psychosocial needs. Effective collaboration and coordination across sectors is critical to providing a “whole child” approach and ensuring comprehensive ECD programming.
Humanitarian actors, policymakers and implementers must fully comply with the INEE Minimum Standards for Education, including explicit calls for the provision of ECD.
The INEE Minimum Standards explicitly include early childhood development as part of education in emergencies, and ECD is implicated in standards for Community Participation, Coordination, Analysis, Access and Learning, Teaching and Learning, Teaching and Other Education Personnel and Education Policy. (See Annex I for full details of ECD in the INEE Minimum Standards).
Education Cannot Wait, the recently launched fund for education in emergencies, should prioritise pre-primary education and early cognitive support, as part of initial investments and long-term strategy.
In May 2016 during the first ever World Humanitarian Summit, Education Cannot Wait: A Fund for Education in Emergencies (ECW) was launched as an innovative new global platform to address the education needs of children affected by humanitarian emergencies. As the ECW fund begins to make decisions on its initial investments to meet this mandate, the High Level Steering Group should ensure that early childhood development and education are prioritised among initial investments, including specifically two years of free quality pre-primary school for children in emergencies.
Increased donor prioritisation and funding of ECD in emergencies.
Donors must fully fund humanitarian appeals and the Education Cannot Wait Fund, so that proposed ECD programmes in emergencies can be implemented and all targeted children can be reached. In addition, donor governments should make ECD services a priority in their own response to humanitarian crises.
Create national level “whole child” strategies in both education policy and emergency response.
National level education and emergency response policies should include a “whole child” approach, particularly for the youngest. Ministries must work together across sectors to create national strategies which detail funding requirements and ensure a “whole child” approach. Community services must address all of the needs of the youngest children and must include strategies to meet those needs in the event of an emergency or disaster.
Below is a list of references used in this report. A fully footnoted version of the report is available here:
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7 Plan International. (2016). Op. cit.
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14 UNICEF. (2016, March 24). “87 million children under age 7 have known nothing but conflict.”
15 Alfonso, Maria Regina A. and Helen R. Garcia. (2016). Op. cit. (pp. 94).
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17 UNOCHA. (2015). “Humanitarian Response Plan January-December 2016: Guatemala Honduras.” (pp. 15).
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21 UNICEF. (2015a). Op. cit.
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28 World Vision. (2012). Op. cit.
29 UNICEF. (2009). “Breastfeeding a crucial priority for child survival in emergencies.”
30 Reliefweb. Typhoon Haiyan – November 2013. 31 World Vision Philippines. (2013). “Baby tents, child-friendly spaces spread out in Yolanda-hit areas.”
32 World Vision. (2014). Op. cit.
33 World Vision International. (2014a). “Philippines: World Vision defends moms and babies in tough times.”
34 World Vision Philippines. (2014b). “Child friendly space, children’s refuge after a disaster.”
35 World Vision. (2013). “Child-Friendly Spaces open in Philippines’ typhoon-ravaged communities.”
36 Zero to Three. “When is the brain fully developed?”
37 Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University. “Toxic Stress.”
38 Schafer, Alison (2015). “Syria’s children – how conflict can harm brain development.” World Vision International.
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40 Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. (2007). “The Science of Early Childhood Development: Closing the Gap Between What We Know and What We Do.” National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
41 Harvard University Center on the Developing Child. “Experiences Build Brain Architecture.”
42 Punamäki, Raija-Leena. (2014). Op. cit.
43 Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University. (2015). “Supporting relationships and active skill-building strengthen the foundations of resilience.” National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, Working Paper 13. (pp. 1).
44 Ibid. (pp. 1).
45 UNESCO. (2016). “No more excuses: Provide education to all forcibly displaced people.” Global Education Monitoring Report Policy Paper 26.
46 Watkins, Kevin. (2016). Op. cit.
47 ANERA. (2014). “Early Childhood Education Gets Help in Lebanon Refugee Camp.”
48 UNHCR. (2016a). “What we do.”
49 FAWCO, NGO Committee on Migration, and OMEP. (2016). “Positive Effects of Innovative Early Childhood Development Programs on Refugee Youth Resilience.”
50 Shah, Sweta. (2016a). “Inequity in Central African Republic: ECD in Emergencies as an entry point for national-level policies.” In Global Report on Equity and Early Childhood. The Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development.
51 UIS. (2016). Net enrolment rate by level of education.
52 Council on Foreign Relations. (2016). “Violence in the Central African Republic.”
53 UN OCHA. (2016). Central African Republic.
54 Shah, Sweta. (2016a). Op. cit. 55 Schafer, Alison (2015). Op. cit.
56 Connolly, Paul, Hayden, Jacqueline, and Diane Levin. (2007). From Conflict to Peace Building: The Power of early Childhood Initiatives, Lessons from Around the World. World Forum Foundation. (pp. 15).
57 Wessells, Michael. (2016). “Strengths-based community action as a source of resilience for children affected by armed conflict.” (pp. 1).
58 Alfonso, Maria Regina A. and Helen R. Garcia. (2016). Op. cit. (pp. 94).
59 Sirin, Selcuk R. and Lauren Rogers-Sirin. (2015). “The Education and Mental Health Needs of Syrian Refugee Children.” Washington DC: Migration Policy Institute. (pp. 13).
60 Alfonso, Maria Regina A. and Helen R. Garcia. (2016). Op. cit. (pp. 96).
61 ISSA. (2010). “Early Childhood Development and Education in Emergencies.” Amsterdam.
62 Shah, Sweta. (2016b). “Early Childhood Development, Nutrition and Health in Emergencies – Technical Note.” Plan International and UNICEF.
63 Connolly, Paul, Hayden, Jacqueline, and Diane Levin. (2007). Op. cit. (pp. 105).
64 Ibid. (pp. 16).
65 Ibid. (pp. 14).
66 Ibid. (pp. 13).
67 UNICEF. (2014). Op. cit.
68 Punamäki, Raija-Leena. (2014). Op. cit. (pp. 222).
69 Ibid. (pp. 224).
70 Christie, Daniel J., Panter-Brick, Catherine, Behrman, Jere R., Cochrane, James R., Dawes, Andrew, Goth, Kristin, Hayden, Jacqueline, Masten, Ann S., Nasser, Ilham, Punamaki, Raija-Leena, and Mark Tomlinson. (2014). “Healthy Human Development as a Path to Peace.” In Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families. Ed. James F. Leckman, Catherine Panter-Brick, and Rima Salah. The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts. (pp. 297).
71 Plan International (2013). “Early childhood care and development in emergencies: A programme guide.” Woking: Plan. (pp. 13).
72 Dawes, Andrew and Amelia van der Merwe. (2014). “Structural Violence and Early Childhood Development.” In Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families. Ed. James F. Leckman, Catherine Panter-Brick, and Rima Salah. The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts. (pp. 236).
73 UNICEF and WHO. “Integrating Early Childhood Development (ECD) activities into Nutrition Programmes in Emergencies: Why, What and How.”
74 UNICEF. (2014). Op. cit.
75 Connolly, Paul, Hayden, Jacqueline, and Diane Levin. (2007). Op. cit. (pp. 44).
76 Ibid. (pp. 46).
77 Anita Vestal & Nancy Aaron Jones (2004) “Peace Building and Conflict Resolution in Preschool Children.” Journal of Research in Childhood Education 19:2, (pp. 132).
78 Steele, Howard, van IJzendoorn, Marinus H, Bakermans-Kranenburg, Marian J., Boyce, W. Thomas, Dozier, Mary, Fox, Nathan A., Keller, Heidi, Maestripieri, Dario, Oburu, Paul Odhiambo, and Hiltrud Otto. (2014). “How Do Events and Relationships in Childhood Set the State for Peace at Personal and Social Levels?” In Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families. Ed. James F. Leckman, Catherine Panter-Brick, and Rima Salah. The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts. (pp. 188).
79 Masten, Ann S. (2014). “Promoting the Capacity for Peace in Early Childhood: Perspectives from Research and Resilience in Children and Families” In Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families. Ed. James F. Leckman, Catherine Panter-Brick, and Rima Salah. The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts. (pp. 252).
80 Shonkoff, Jack, Richter, Linda, van der Gaag, Jacques and Zulfiqar A. Bhutta. (2012). “An Integrated Scientific Framework for Child Survival and Early Childhood Development.” Pediatrics 129(2): (pp. 5).
81 UNICEF. (2015a). Op. cit.
82 Vestal, Anita and Nancy Aaron Jones. (2004) Op. cit. (pp. 131–142).
83 Kagitcibasi, Cigdem and Pia R. Britto. (2014). “Interventions: What Has Worked and Why?” In Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families. Ed. James F. Leckman, Catherine PanterBrick, and Rima Salah. The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts. (pp. 309).
84 Walker, Susan P., Chang, Susan M., Vera-Hernandez, Marcos, and Sally Grantham-McGregor. (2011). “Early childhood stimulation benefits adult competence and reduces violent behavior.” Pediatrics 127(5): (pp. 849–858).
85 Gertler, Paul, Heckman, James, Pinto, Rodrigo, Zanolini, Arianna, Vermeersch, Christel, Walker, Susan, Chang, Susan M, and Sally Grantham-Mcgregor. (2014). “Labor market returns to an early childhood stimulation intervention in Jamaica.” Science 344(6178): (pp. 998–1001).
86 UNHCR. (2016a). Op. cit.
87 Connolly, Paul, Smith, Alan, and Berni Kelly. (2002). “Too Young to Notice? The Cultural and Political Awareness of 3-6 year olds in Northern Ireland.” Northern Ireland Community Relations Council.
88 Kagitcibasi, Cigdem and Pia R. Britto. (2014). Op. cit. (pp. 309).
89 Punamäki, Raija-Leena. (2014). Op. cit. (pp. 231).
90 Connolly, Paul, Hayden, Jacqueline, and Diane Levin. (2007). Op. cit. (pp. 110).
91 Ang L. and Oliver S. (2015). A Systematic Policy Review of Early Childhood Development and Peacebuilding in Fourteen Conflictaffected and Post-conflict Countries. UNICEF and UCL Institute of Education: University College London. (pp. 6).
92 Christie, Daniel J., Panter-Brick, Catherine, Behrman, Jere R., Cochrane, James R., Dawes, Andrew, Goth, Kristin, Hayden, Jacqueline, Masten, Ann S., Nasser, Ilham, Punamaki, Raija-Leena, and Mark Tomlinson. (2014). Op.cit. (pp. 287).
93 UNICEF. (2011) “Early Childhood Development in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transition: Case Study from Democratic Republic of Congo”
94 Connolly, Paul, Smith, Alan, and Berni Kelly. (2002). Op. cit. (pp. 6).
95 Ibid. (pp. 53).
96 The Lancet. (2011). The Lancet Child Development in Developing Countries Series 2.
97 Heckman, James J. “The Case for Investing in Disadvantaged Young Children.” Big Ideas for Children: Investing in our Nation’s Future.
98 Christie, Daniel J., Panter-Brick, Catherine, Behrman, Jere R., Cochrane, James R., Dawes, Andrew, Goth, Kristin, Hayden, Jacqueline, Masten, Ann S., Nasser, Ilham, Punamaki, Raija-Leena, and Mark Tomlinson. (2014). Op. cit.
99 Dawes, Andrew and Amelia van der Merwe. (2014). Op. cit.
100 Ang L. and Oliver S. (2015). Op. cit. (pp. 5).
101 UNICEF. (2014a). “State of Palestine Annual Report.” Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy in Conflict-Affected Contexts Programme. (pp. 7).
102 Ibid. (pp. 3).
103 UNICEF. (2014b). “Peacebuilding, Education, and Advocacy Program.” Learning for Peace. (pp. 1).
105 INEE. (2010). Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery. (pp. 2).
106 INEE. (2010a). INEE Thematic Issue Brief: Early Childhood Development.
108 See fts.ocha.org.
109 United Nations. (2016). The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016 (pp. 43).
110 Development Initiatives. (2016). The Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2016 (pp. 68).
111 UNICEF. “Early Childhood Development.”
112 UNICEF. (2013, July 11). The UNICEF Strategic Plan, 2014-2017 (pp. 4).
113 Ibid. (pp. 7)
114 UNICEF. (2016, July). Annual Report 2015 (pp. 39).
115 UNICEF. “Early Childhood Peace Consortium.”
116 UNICEF. (2010). “Early Childhood Development Kit.”
117 UNICEF. (2014). Op. cit.
118 International Rescue Committee. (2016). “Safe Healing and Learning Spaces Toolkit.”
119 See: Shah, Sweta. (2016). “Early Childhood Development and Child Protection in Emergencies.” Plan International and UNICEF; UNICEF. (2014). “Early Childhood Development in Emergencies: Integrated Programme Guide.”; and Plan International (2013). “Early childhood care and development in emergencies: A programme guide.” Woking: Plan.
120 Jones, Lynne. (2008.) “Responding to the needs of children in crisis.” International Review of Psychiatry 20(3): (pp. 292).
121 UNICEF and WHO. Op. cit.
122 NGO Committee on Migration and OMEP. (2015). “Providing Education and Care for Syria’s Littlest Refugees.”
123 Christie, Daniel J., Panter-Brick, Catherine, Behrman, Jere R., Cochrane, James R., Dawes, Andrew, Goth, Kristin, Hayden, Jacqueline, Masten, Ann S., Nasser, Ilham, Punamaki, Raija-Leena, and Mark Tomlinson. (2014). Op. cit. (pp. 281).
124 Plan International (2013). Op. cit. (pp. 8).
125 UNICEF. (2014). Op. cit.
126 Ibid. (pp. 17).
127 Development Initiatives. (2016). Op. cit. (pp. 98, endnote 10).