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ECDAN Progress Report 2020-2021
During 2020 and 2021, children and families faced even greater challenges due to overlapping crises— the pandemic, war and conflict, climate change, and food insecurity—that will have lifelong impact on their lives. In 2020, COVID-19 spread across the globe and put children’s survival, physical and mental health, access to learning, and long-term well-being at risk. While many children have lost their lives and fallen ill due to COVID-19, many more have been orphaned and faced threats to their health, education, and well-being because of disrupted services across the world.
With closures of schools and child care centres, parents had to take on a heavier load than before, often juggling work with the care of small children. This and other strains from the pandemic have had a heavy toll on people’s mental health. Some parents lost their jobs, while others have had to leave the workforce to care for children or other relatives. In December 2021, UNICEF declared COVID-19 to be the worst emergency for children in the organization’s 75-year history, explaining that “the widespread impact of COVID-19 continues to deepen, increasing poverty, entrenching inequality and threatening the rights of children at previously unseen levels.”
In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, children have been affected by humanitarian and multidimensional crises in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Haiti, Madagascar, Lebanon, Palestine, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen, and other parts of the world. UNICEF estimates that one in five babies is born into and start their lives in situations of conflict and crisis.
Funding that is focused on Early Childhood Development (ECD) — particularly child protection and education — has been insufficient, especially in crisis-affected countries. Only an estimated three per cent of total development assistance goes to crisis-affected countries, and two per cent of humanitarian funding goes toward providing high-quality early year services to newborns, young children, and their caregivers. ECDAN has worked with other partners and Moving Minds Alliance to call on the global community to act now to increase this critical ECD funding and support the health, nutritional, educational, and developmental needs of children living in complex humanitarian emergencies.
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