Early childhood care and development in the Syria and Iraq humanitarian responses

Plan International


Despite increasing recognition of the importance of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) in recent years, a critical gap in humanitarian responses has been observed with regard to mitigating the negative consequences of war and displacement on young children’s overall development.

Early childhood (0-8 years) is the most important period in human life for physical, cognitive, emotional and social development, setting a strong foundation for a child’s future trajectory. During this period, critical brain development occurs rapidly and depends on adequate protection, stimulation and nurturing care. Separation from parents or caregivers, witnessing violence, and everyday stressors in the child’s environment can disrupt bonding and undermine healthy long-term social and emotional development. Evidence suggests that early childhood services, including those that support and guide parents, caregivers, and families in times of crisis, can mitigate the negative effects on young children and promote crucial resilience and development.

While promising work to support families is underway, unfortunately the provision of ECCD services in the Syria and Iraq response region (Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey) is only reaching a fraction of the total number of children in need.

This mapping provides a baseline overview of early childhood programming in the Syria and Iraq response region. The nine international organisations reported a total of 200 early childhood programmes (these were counted using the 5Ws spreadsheet as individual programmes in individual locations. In other words, in many cases the services are part of one initiative/project which is being implemented in multiple locations). The nature of these programs are described in slightly more detail in the organisational snapshots in this report.

Cover with a close-up on a young girl, with in the background a early childhood class
Plan International
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