ECDAN

Theme:

ECD and Humanitarian Crisis

About the Issue

Millions of children around the world live in humanitarian situations—forced to flee their homes due to conflict, political or economic crisis, natural disasters, health pandemic, displacement as a result of climate change or fear of persecution.  During these periods, which can often last several decades, young children miss critical supports to help them survive and thrive to their full potential.

In humanitarian situations, multiple adversities threaten young children’s ability to flourish and reach their full potential. These include:

  • Increased risk of separation or loss of parents or primary caregivers
  • Physical injury and disability
  • Loss of the stability, consistent routines, and comforts of home and community
  • Experiencing or witnessing violence
  • Lack early learning opportunities
  • Missed health checkups and immunizations
  • Poor nutrition and malnutrition

The accumulation of multiple adversities in the critical first years of life–when brain development occurs at the most rapid pace–can have long-term, negative impacts on the child’s future learning, behavior and health. Exposure to repeated or prolonged challenging circumstances, such as those faced by children living through conflict or other emergency contexts can result in increased levels of cortisol flooding a child’s brain, this is known as ‘a toxic stress response,’ which can affect brain development, affecting the child’s learning, behavior and health with long-lasting impacts, not only for the child but for the societies in which they live. 

Additionally, experiences of conflict and crisis can influence caregiving behaviors, depriving young children of the stable, responsive and nurturing care they need in order to thrive.

Why it Matters

For infants and young children growing up in crisis contexts, quality ECD can save lives and set the foundations for a more positive life trajectory. 

Resources

Resources

Born into the Climate Crisis: Why we must act now to secure children’s rights

Born into the Climate Crisis: Why we must act now to secure children’s rights

The threat posed to children and their rights by the climate crisis is not theoretical: it is real, and...

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Falling short: Addressing the climate finance gap for children

Falling short: Addressing the climate finance gap for children

Climate finance is key to implementing the ‘quantum leap’ in climate action required to meet the...

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Mental health and our changing climate

Mental health and our changing climate

The American Psychological Association and ecoAmerica are pleased to offer this update of our 2017 report,...

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Addressing the Climate Crisis An Action Plan for Psychologist

Addressing the Climate Crisis An Action Plan for Psychologist

Successful responses to the climate crisis require the participation of all fields and sectors of society....

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What Climate Change Is Already Doing to Children’s Brains

What Climate Change Is Already Doing to Children's Brains

It’s true: the data on the spiraling planetary crisis, the cascading health effects, and widening inequality...

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A scoping study on putting young children at the heart of environmental and climate actions

A scoping study on putting young children at the heart of environmental and climate actions

As we move steadily into a world affected by climate change and environmental degradation (CC&ED),...

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Climate Change, Fossil-Fuel Pollution, and Children’s Health

Climate Change, Fossil-Fuel Pollution, and Children’s Health

The combustion of fossil fuels (coal, petroleum [oil], and natural gas) is the major source of both air...

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IRC Climate Change Health Maper 2009_03

IRC Climate Change Health Maper 2009_03

This paper reviews the published evidence of pathways and impacts of global climate change on child health....

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HCDC Working Paper 16 Media Kit – Place Matters

HCDC Working Paper 16 Media Kit - Place Matters

Our friends at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University have released a new working paper...

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CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS in coastal and riverine Sierra Leone

CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS in coastal and riverine Sierra Leone

In June 2022, a team of Save the Children staff conducted research with 52 children across four coastal...

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Danger in the air: How air pollution can affect brain development in young children

Danger in the air: How air pollution can affect brain development in young children

When we shift from direct to proximate causes of disease, the environment matters a lot. Air pollution...

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CLIMATE CHANGE AND CHILDREN: A human security challenge

CLIMATE CHANGE AND CHILDREN: A human security challenge

The evidence presented in this review confirms the centrality of children and their unique vulnerabilities...

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Incorporating Children’s Rights into Climate Action

Incorporating Children’s Rights into Climate Action

Children represent almost one-third of the world’s population. They have the right to live in a...

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Funding Climate Action : Pathways for Philanthropy

Funding Climate Action : Pathways for Philanthropy

Climate change represents a critical challenge to humanity. While there are still some that contest this...

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