Donor Scorecard: Just Beginning: Addressing Inequality in Donor Funding for Early Childhood Development
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Given this global commitment to early childhood development, it is vital to identify the extent to which investments are being made to realise the promise. Many donors recognise the evidence that shows the importance of investing in early childhood development, and the need for an integrated approach. We therefore focus in particular on donor funding to early childhood development, specifically with respect to areas for which resources can be tracked: health, nutrition, sanitation and pre-primary education. Other aspects of early childhood development such as play and protection are equally as important, and need to be integrated within an overall package of support. Unfortunately, however, it is not possible to identify donor resources allocated to these areas. The scorecard tracks donor disbursements over the period 2002 to 2016 to interventions specific to children from 0 to 5 years. It finds that early childhood health and nutrition have benefited from a growth in resources over this period, while education and sanitation have declined in relative importance. This implies that donors have failed to fulfil a commitment to a coordinated, integrated approach. One reason for this is linked with high profile campaigns on early childhood health and nutrition, which appear to have been successful in mobilising donor resources. A potential reason for the focus of these campaigns could be that donors can see more immediate results from investing in health and nutrition, and are able to report more concretely on numbers vaccinated, lives saved and so on. While this is crucial, a failure to simultaneously invest sufficiently in education is likely to undermine the longer-term, less visible but equally important benefits associated with education. The scorecard is organised as follows: Section 2 gives an overview of the sectoral areas commonly falling under the ECD sector. Section 3 presents an overview of aid disbursements to ECD between 2002 and 2016. Section 4 presents a donor scorecard in relation to their disbursements to the ECD sector, and specifically to pre-primary education within this. Section 5 provides the key conclusions, and Section 6 presents some of the key recommendations going forward, based on our findings.