We know that you make the biggest difference in a child’s life by investing at the earliest years – from conception through the first five years. The evidence from programmes like Sure Start in the UK, supported by what we now know about the neurological development of young children, prove the long term social and economic benefits of this policy. I believe we have an opportunity to extend those benefits to some of the poorest children in the world.
Last July I travelled to Malawi with Ivan Lewis MP, the UK’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, to learn both how early childhood programmes can be delivered effectively in countries that lack the resources we have in developed countries, and how they can benefit some most disadvantaged and marginalised children in the world. This visit reinforced my conviction in the principles that an integrated approach to early childhood development would bring practical benefits to the poorest children and their families in all countries.
We are working in the UK through an All Party Parliamentary Group set up by Andrea Leadsom MP and a group of MPs of all political persuasions to champion an integrated approach to early childhood development. If the new post-2015 development framework is truly to be a new global covenant developed in partnership with developing, development and middle income countries, we need to prove that we are doing all we can at home to tackle inequality, poverty and lack of opportunity.
But now we need your support - we need to build alliances with G8 countries and other developing countries to ensure that early childhood development is not just a side issue – it should be right at heart of civil society, our fight for social justice and economic development. We cannot afford to squander the talents of so many of the world's people.
Help us build support by sharing this petition with your friends and networks who believe children should be at the heart of our future development strategy. If this approach is right for our children, surely it is right for some of the poorest children in the world. That is why I believe this policy should be at the heart of the new post-2015 framework.