Date: 15-12-2020

A New Campaign Pushes for a Fair Start for Every Child in Europe

The first months and years of life lay the foundations for children’s physical, social and emotional development. Eurochild and the International Step by Step Association, in partnership with the European Public Health Alliance and the Roma Education Fund are launching the First Years First Priority campaign to advocate for prioritization of early childhood development (ECD) in public policies to ensure every child in Europe aged 0 to 6 receives a fair start in life.

The campaign to be launched on 15 December aims to bring change for young children in Europe by:

  1. Building a community of ECD advocates at national and EU level
  2. Raising awareness of ECD and collecting and disseminating a strong evidence base
  3. Leveraging EU policies and funding to support reforms and public investment at national level

In partnership with national partners from nine European countries – Bulgaria, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia and Spain, the campaign aims to inform European and national policy-makers, engage civil society organisations, and empower parents and families to advocate for their own rights and those of their children.

“Families usually know what’s in their children’s best interest, but poverty and discrimination may limit parents’ potential to be the best they can be for their young children. With this campaign we want to influence policies and public spending on early childhood development in a way that is informed by evidence, and the views and experiences of parents themselves. Public investment can and should support and empower families and their young children.” - Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General.

The International Step by Step Association (ISSA) and EuroChild are launching a Europe-wide campaign on Early Childhood Development (ECD), in partnership with the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and the Roma Education Fund (REF), with the support of the Open Society Foundations (OSF).

The First Years First Priority campaign is looking to build a strong community of ECD advocates at the EU and national level to ensure ECD stays high on the political agenda.

The campaign prioritizes children from birth to 6 years old, with a special attention on:

  • the first 1,000 days of the child’s life;
  • the most vulnerable children (Roma and Traveller children, children with disabilities, migrant and refugee children, children at risk of entering, or in, alternative care, and those living in extreme poverty).

The campaign will run in 9 countries across Europe (Bulgaria, Hungary, France, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Romania) under the leadership of national coordinators, who will help create broad coalitions of national partners for stronger campaigns at the national level.

Do you want to be part of a community of Early Childhood Development advocates at the EU or national level?

Register your interest below by Monday 14 December: JOIN THE LAUNCH  

“Only by taking a comprehensive approach to all policies and services that impact early childhood development will we be able to break the cycle of disadvantage and ensure all youngest citizens in Europe have equal opportunities to safe, healthy and optimal development from the very start in their life.” - Mihaela Ionescu, Program Director, International Step by Step Association.

The partnership

Eurochild is a network of almost 200 member organisations from 35 European countries working with and for children throughout Europe, striving for a society that respects the rights of children.

International Step by Step Association (ISSA) is an early childhood regional network that connects the early childhood practice, research, and policy to improve the quality of early childhood systems in Europe and Central Asia.

European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) is Europe’s leading NGO alliance advocating for better health and made up of public health NGOs, patient groups, health professionals and disease groups.

Roma Education Fund (REF) wants to close the gap in educational outcomes between Roma and non-Roma by supporting policies and programs which ensure quality education for Roma, including the desegregation of education systems.

For more information, contact:

Agata D’Addato
Eurochild Senior Project Manager and Campaign Coordinator
Skype: Eurochild-adaddato