Early Childhood Development (ECD): The Situation and Role of Early Childhood Development in the Context of Syria and Iraq Crises

Publication language
Date published
01 Jun 2020
No Lost Generation
Lessons papers
Children & youth, Development & humanitarian aid, COVID-19, Epidemics & pandemics, Education, Health, Psychosocial support, Good health and well-being (SDG)
Syria, Iraq

Early Childhood Development (ECD) services in humanitarian and fragile settings are essential to support young children’s healthy development and to drive recovery and peacebuilding. Emergencies arising from armed conflict negatively affect the physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of children, their families and communities. Children from birth to eight years of age are the most affected by emergencies, with the highest illness and death rates of any age group, twenty times higher than standard levels. Comprehensive evidence from neuroscience to economics shows that when children experience severe, prolonged adversity, they risk having high levels of toxic stress, in which their cortisol hormone levels increase, and their brain architecture is adversely impacted, affecting all subsequent areas of child growth and development.

No Generation Lost (NLG) partners, are working to ensure a sustainable and context-appropriate ECD response to the needs of millions of Syrian children whose most formative years have been marked by displacement, conflict and violence. An initial mapping of the Syria and Iraq Humanitarian Response Plans (HRP) revealed that while progress to support families is underway, the provision of ECD services is only reaching a fraction of the total number of children in need.