In honor of World Refugee Day, thank you for joining us for this Concordia Live dialogue on increasing support for the youngest refugees and their families. Over half of the world’s refugees are children, and the number of children forced to flee their homes is only expected to grow. The current conflict in Ukraine comes on the heels of humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Hiti, Madagascar, Lebanon, Palestine, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen, and many more places around the world. UNICEF estimates from 2018 show that more than one in five babies are born into situations of conflict and crisis.
The global refugee crisis is especially dangerous for young children, as prolonged stress can disrupt their healthy brain development, with lasting impacts on lifelong learning and well-being. Evidence shows that early childhood development (ECD) interventions are a cost-effective tool for reducing or reversing these harmful effects and building resilience to help children not only survive, but thrive. Despite this evidence, ECD programs are dramatically under-prioritized and underfunded in refugee response. Only an estimated 3% of total development assistance to crisis-affected countries and 2% of humanitarian funding goes toward providing quality ECD services to newborns, young children, and their caregivers.
This Concordia Live, co-hosted with Global Patron Member Sesame Workshop, brought together donors, international organizations, and nonprofits to make the case for increased prioritization of ECD for refugee children. We shared several exciting new initiatives to meet the needs of refugee children and families and facilitated a discussion on how to scale up the financing, policies, inter-sectoral collaboration, and leadership needed to effectively support the youngest refugees and their families.
Cover photo credit: © Fabeha Monir / Sesame Workshop
Director, Refugee Early Childhood Initiative, LEGO Foundation
Vice President, Humanitarian Programs, Sesame Workshop
CEO & Executive Director, USA for UNHCR
Global Programs Manager, iACT
Executive Director, BRAC Institute of Educational Development