ECDAN recognizes that experiences in the first years of life impact a child’s holistic outcomes in adulthood.

Therefore, allocating resources to support young children and their caregivers is one of the best investments governments can make to develop human capital and promote economic growth. Even though the science is clear, programs for the youngest children are often underfunded, siloed, small-scale, and limited in scope. ECDAN was created to bring greater visibility, collaboration, and scale to this issue and achieve better outcomes for children aged 0-8. 

Our Vision

We envision a world where every young child is well nourished, healthy, learning, happy, and safe.

Our Mission

We drive collective action with and for young children and their caregivers by connecting and aligning partners, sharing knowledge and good practice, and advocating for better policies, more resources and accountability for results.

Our Strategic Objectives 2024-2028

1. Build a movement

We engage diverse actors and catalyze collective action for shared ECD goals.

2. Exchange knowledge and learning

We connect partners to generate and use knowledge and evidence to improve policies and practice.

3. Advocate for action

We build political will and public demand for better policies, more resources, quality implementation and greater accountability for results.

Our Principles

ECDAN’s ways of working are guided by social justice and collaboration principles. All partners who join ECDAN agree to uphold these principles.

Human and child rights

We frame access to early childhood care and education as a right.

Equity and inclusion

We make intentional efforts to include and uplift the voices of disadvantaged and excluded communities.

Gender equality

We champion the empowerment of women and girls, recognizing the benefits when women have access to employment.

Anti-racist and non-discrimination

We champion the empowerment of women and girls, recognizing the benefits when women have access to employment.


We empower local communities and actors by creating space to learn from and contribute to national-level actors.


We build trust by valuing the contributions and perspectives of all actors.

Collaboration and leverage

We co-create with partners, build on what is existing, and incentivize collective effort over competition.

Transparency and accountability

We promote open exchange of information, honest admission of gaps, and follow through on commitments.


We nurture creative solutions to intractable problems that disrupt the status quo and create systems change.

ECDAN is governed by a diverse coalition of partner organizations who serve on the Executive Leadership Council (ELC).

The ELC meets twice annually and has various committees that support the Secretariat in carrying out the strategic plan. The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is made up of cross-sectoral technical specialists and provides advice and recommendations on ECDAN’s priorities and implementation approach. ECDAN’s Secretariat carries out the core functions of the network, supporting, convening, and leading partners to advance shared goals.

ECDAN's work is supported by philanthropic organizations and carried out by partners around the world.

In addition to grant funding, our work is made possible with the in-kind contributions from our members and partners who generously share their expertise and resources for the common good. We have over 300 partner organizations with offices in more than 60 countries worldwide. 

We are moving into the next phase of ECDAN's development as we launch our second strategy in 2024.

ECDAN was initiated by leaders of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank Group, and by 80 other partners in 2016. This incubation phase ended in 2020 when ECDAN formalized, restructured, and developed its first strategic plan. Now that we have built a track record and proven our value addition, we expect to catalyze even greater impact for young children and their caregivers.

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