Date: 15-03-2023

First Years, First Priority Campaign coalition makes the case for an integrated early childhood system in Bulgaria

On 12 January, ISSA Member, For Our Children Foundation, took part in the largest roundtable discussion to date on Bulgaria’s new approach to Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). 

During this roundtable, Trendafil Meretev, Projects and Advocacy Manager, and advocacy expert for the organization spoke on behalf of the First Years, First Priority national campaign coalition. He urged the Bulgarian government to focus on developing a unified and integrated system for ECEC, to include the period from prenatal care to school. However, reforming an outdated care system requires not only joint effort between government and the civic sector but also political will.

Managing early years services in a unified system in combination with a holistic and integrated early childhood development (ECD) policy, would help address multisectoral challenges, including infant mortality, child poverty and social exclusion, ageing workforce in ECEC services and slow economic development. This in turn would support sustainable growth for a competent ECD workforce.

Read the full article here.


The First Years, First Priority Campaign reinforces the imperative to adopt through cross-sectoral policies, funding, and services a comprehensive approach to a child’s development in the early years, ranging from health and nutrition to family environment and support, from early learning to physical, mental, and social safety and security. It is active in ten countries across Europe (Bulgaria, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain) under the leadership of national coordinators, who succeeded in creating broad coalitions of national partners for stronger impact at the national level.

Four ISSA Member organizations are among the National Coordinators: For Our Children Foundation and Trust for Social Achievement (Bulgaria), Ensemble for Early Childhood Education (France), and Centrul Step by Step (Romania).

Learn more about the First Years, First Priority Campaign’s vision, strategy, here.