Early Childhood Development in Crisis Contexts

A picture of leaders in education and humanitarian response
The Global Policy Center represented UVA at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, Switzerland in 2019 joining nations and international organizations in pledging commitments to early childhood education for displaced youth.

Almost 90 million children under the age of seven have lived their entire lives in war and conflict. They’ve endured unthinkable violence and loss during a critically-important time in their development. Yet major policy and research gaps exist. In order to recognize early childhood development as a life saving priority, we need radical changes to the humanitarian system.

This lab focuses on research with humanitarian and early childhood partners to create strategies, standards, policies, and programs for humanitarian actors to better support young children in crisis contexts.

The Team

Faculty, Staff and Students

Our core faculty and staff oversee the Global Policy Center and promote research and education within the humanitarian sector.

What do we know (so far) about remote delivery of early childhood development (ECD) programs in settings affected by crisis and conflict? A conversation between research and practice.

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the global ECD community to test ways to remotely reach children on a new scale, creating an environment in which new evidence is constantly generated. This webinar, hosted by ECDAN, facilitated an engaging conversation between panelists, hosts, and audience participants, including about 150 people from more than 20 countries. Speakers engaged in the LEGO Foundation-funded Play to Learn Project offered a variety of perspectives on this growing body of evidence from displaced communities in Bangladesh, Lebanon, and Peru.

Summary of findings
Webinar recording
Webinar Summary
Slide deck

Early Childhood Development Standards Review

One major obstacle to providing quality integrated Early Childhood Services in Humanitarian Contexts (ECDiE for ECD in emergencies) is the limited operational guidance focused on implementing early childhood programs and services that is integrated to the humanitarian response system.

To fill this gap, this review analyzes existing humanitarian standards to assess the extent to which early childhood interventions and the needs of infants, young children, and caregivers are included.

The Humanitarian Collaborative team conducted this review for partners at the Moving Minds Alliance, a consortium of funders and organizational leaders in the field of early childhood education and development. This review is part of a broader strategy to identify gaps, develop solutions and advocate and secure more adequate funding and resources for ECDiE.

Assessment of Programs for Early Childhood Development in Crisis Contexts

The Humanitarian Collaborative team is working with the INEE ECD Task Team to conduct a study to better understand the global landscape of current Early Childhood Development programming in humanitarian settings, as well as the needs of practitioners in the field to improve program implementation and quality. This information will inform future priorities to strengthen and expand early childhood programming in humanitarian settings.

United Nations Global Refugee Forum 

The Humanitarian Collaborative team contributed to the United Nations Global Framework for Refugee Education, the guiding document that UN member states will use to set policy, allocate funding, and track progress over the next four years. The team was invited to the first ever Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, Switzerland and presented the IRC PhotoVoice Project at the Forums’ Marketplace of Good Practices.