Since ECDAN’s inception in 2016, we have helped to increase political will and public demand for investments in the early years.

We have built an interconnected web of stakeholders committed to prioritizing young children and their caregivers. By incentivizing and cultivating collective effort, cross-sectoral practitioners and advocates now have easier access to relevant resources, peer support, policy framing, and funding opportunities to benefit children under eight and their caregivers.

Incubation (2016-2018)

UNICEF and the World Bank Group launched ECDAN at the World Bank Spring Meetings event titled “Smart Beginnings for Economies on the Rise” in April 2016.  Following this announcement, more than 80 partners representing UN agencies, the World Bank, civil society organizations, foundations, academic institutions, private sector, and related networks and initiatives engaged in six task forces. Together, they set the strategic direction for ECDAN. They agreed that ECDAN’s purpose would be to catalyze collective action at scale to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for young children. An Interim Executive Group was put in place to oversee the network and ChildFund served as the host organization. 

Development (2019-2022)

ECDAN hired its first Executive Director for the Secretariat in 2018 and a governing constitution was written in a matter of months. The governance structure also changed and the Executive Leadership Council as well as the Technical Advisory Group were formed. The first strategy was developed and launched in 2020. A new host was selected through a competitive and transparent process, and ECDAN transitioned to PATH in 2021. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ECDAN pivoted to advocate for and address to the acute needs of parents and caregivers.

Maturation (2023-Present)

Throughout the second half of 2023, ECDAN facilitated an inclusive and consultative process to refresh its strategy for the coming five years. We reassessed the landscape and considered what is most needed as well as what ECDAN has proven it can uniquely contribute. The new strategy builds on what was successful in the previous period and reflects some intentional shifts, such as increasing financing for ECD, adopting a systems approach, and prioritizing equity and inclusion of the most vulnerable young children. This includes ensuring children in humanitarian settings and those with disabilities and developmental delays receive the supports they need.

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