Scientific evidence on brain development shows that the early years of a child’s life – from birth to age 8 years of age – are critical to its ability to learn. Recent advances in neuroscience have improved our understanding of how the brain develops in the first years of life, and a growing body of research has made it increasingly clear that programs that intervene early, especially for the most disadvantaged children, lead to better outcomes for children, their parents and society at large. Still, more than 200 million children under the age of 5 in developing countries are failing to reach their full potential in cognitive development because of poverty, poor health and nutrition, and deficient care.
With this innovative activity the H&M Foundation supported UNICEF in raising awareness about the importance of Early Childhood Development and at the same time provides an opportunity for people to contribute.
Together with their parents, children were able to upload a drawing on a campaign site, showing what they dream of becoming when they grow up. Then they exchange it for a Unicoin, to support every child’s right to early childhood development, care and pre-primary education. The H&M Foundation matched each Unicoin with one notebook and pencil. The material was distributed to children around the world by UNICEF.
“1 out of 3 children in the developing world don’t achieve their full potential before entering primary school due to causes linked to poverty, lack of access to learning opportunities, poor health, and malnutrition.”Pia R. Britto, Senior Advisor, Chief Early Childhood Development Section, UNICEF Headquarters
“No matter where you live, all children have one thing in common – the ability to dream. By sharing children’s drawings, we can help more children to reach their full learning potential and build a better future for themselves,” says Charlotte Brunnström, Program Manager for Education at the H&M Foundation.
Reaching over 70,000 children in three years
The Unicoin campaign was part of the Global Program for Education – a collaboration between H&M Foundation and UNICEF, run 2014-2017. In February 2014, the H&M Foundation announced a grant to UNICEF of 9.3 million US Dollars over a three year period. This grant enabled UNICEF to reach 73,600 children with Early Childhood Development programs as well as influence governments to place Early Childhood Development on the national agenda and commit budgetary resources to address these issues. Few donors or governments prioritize funding for Early Childhood Development, which is why the H&M Foundation wanted to contribute to filling that gap by supporting UNICEF.
“1 out of 3 children in the developing world don’t achieve their full potential before entering primary school due to causes linked to poverty, lack of access to learning opportunities, poor health, and malnutrition. But together we can change this by providing the most disadvantaged children with access to early childhood care and education. At UNICEF and H&M Foundation we believe that it is possible to give every child the best possible start in life. Help us spread the word by joining the Unicoin campaign today,” says Pia R. Britto, Senior Advisor, Chief Early Childhood Development Section, UNICEF Headquarters.