In any conflict, young children are particularly vulnerable. A multitude of factors common in these settings have a negative impact on young children, including loss of caregivers; increased risk of malnutrition, physical maiming, and psychosocial threats; and lack of opportunities for early learning and stimulation. This guidance note goes deeper into the theory of change behind promoting peace through early childhood development (ECD). It also provides practical ways to implement peace building through ECD.
Practical suggestions for integrating peacebuilding aspects into ECD programmes, as well as including ECD in peacebuilding initiatives, include: providing opportunities for play and social interaction among young children; promoting programmes that focus on the creation of a healthy and positive self and group identity that originates from a point of commonality; consciously creating opportunities within home environments, care settings and communities for reflection, perspective taking and critical thinking (both for young children and caregivers); leveraging the role of the media and technology in young children’s lives; and targeting parenting programmes to increase their coverage and reach marginalised populations.