I want to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a happy and fruitful, safe and healthy, New Year. May 2021 ring in renewed peace and hope, the warmth of love and joy in our hearts, and success in all our endeavors as we work to improve the well-being of all families and children around the world.
Indeed, the year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most challenging years that we as an international community have together faced. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that continues to seriously affect the lives of families and children, especially those most vulnerable who live in fragile situations. As of this writing, the novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of nearly two million people worldwide. Millions of livelihoods have been compromised, causing much uncertainty. The pandemic has exacerbated existing crises and inequalities have become more starkly evident, especially in places where war, violent conflict, political turmoil, and military occupation continues. In point, the Beirut blast in early August 2020 further exacerbated the human and children’s rights crises in the region in addition to difficulties caused by the pandemic.
But 2020 will also show tenacity and resilience among people who innovatively joined together to strengthen global solidarity and international cooperation and bring meaningful change in systems and societies for improved equality and social justice. Courageous men, women, and young people across the globe rose to the occasion to protect their communities and families from the immediate and long-term impact of the pandemic.
Friends and Colleagues,
None of this would have happened without your commitment and the bold action you continue to take on behalf of vulnerable families and young children during these trying times. Those of you who serve on the frontlines have saved lives and alleviated suffering. Many of you have empowered, supported, and guided caregivers and parents in providing nurturing care to their children during times of quarantine. Others of you have advocated tirelessly for the wellbeing of families by demonstrating through science and practice, the transformative power of early childhood development (ECD). ECD strategies and services can not only mitigate the impact of the humanitarian crisis on young children but also reduce poverty, inequity, violence, as well as build a strong foundation for peace, social justice, and social cohesion. And still, others of you have raised funds and launched campaigns to promote girls’ education and protect children from harm during the pandemic and beyond.
This New Year, I am more fully inspired to continue our great work together. to achieve our paralleled and unified goals. We at the ECPC will further our Global to Action in response to COVID-19 for children in fragile and conflict-affected settings: The promise of early childhood development so that it echoes in all regions throughout the world.