Announcing the Business for Early Childhood Development Task Force

Global Business Coalition for Education and Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution launch Business for Early Childhood Development Task Force


Following the first in-person meeting in New York during the United Nations General Assembly in late September, the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) and the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution launched a Business for Early Childhood Development (ECD) Task Force.

Early childhood development (ECD) refers to the development of a child starting as early as conception and ending as the child completes transition into primary school or up to 8 years of age. Achieving good outcomes in the four areas of development–cognitive, linguistic, socio-emotional and physical–requires good nutrition and health, opportunities for play, nurture and learning with caregivers, early stimulation and protection from violence and neglect.

The Task Force will be chaired by LEGO Education President Emeritus Stephan Turnipseed and Oando Foundation Director Tokunboh Durosaro. It will benefit from the research expertise of Tamar Manuelyan Atinc and Emily Gustafsson-Wright of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. The first in-person meeting – hosted by GBC-Education Executive Chair, Sarah Brown – brought together representatives from donor agencies, NGOs and business leaders with the goal of making a difference in the lives of children globally. The Task Force will demonstrate the value that businesses attach to investing in young children by using its collective power to influence global discussions, and country and company policies and practice.

More than 200 million children under the age of five in the developing world are at risk of not reaching their full development potential because they suffer from the negative consequences of poverty, nutritional deficiencies and inadequate learning opportunities.

Turnipseed said, “There is no time to waste in the development of children at an early age. Research shows that the foundations for 21st century skills – which are critical for the workplace – start early in a child’s lifetime. As business leaders, we must come together to ensure the employability of our future workforce.”

The arguments for investing in children early are simple and encouraging. Research shows that the brain is almost fully developed by age 3 providing a narrow opportunity to achieve high gains or Research shows that the early years when the brain is developing most rapidly provide an unparalleled opportunity to achieve high gains. And early intervention levels the playing field and especially benefits disadvantaged children. Lastly, investing early prevents higher costs down the road, and interventions yield a high return on investment by preparing a productive workforce for the future.

Durosaro said, “In developing countries – like Nigeria – investment in early childhood development is even more critical given the lack of resources available. As companies – through our philanthropic efforts and our core assets – we can move the needle on making ECD a priority.”

The meetings in New York took place on the sidelines of a broader forum in which business leaders called for action to accelerate progress on access and learning in the final sprint until the end of 2015.

About the Global Business Coalition for Education
The Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) brings the business community together to accelerate progress in delivering quality education and learning for all of the world’s children and youth. Since its launch in 2012, GBC-Education has grown to become the single forum connecting business to make a lasting impact on the lives of children and youth through education. GBC-Education members believe their core business assets, social responsibility and philanthropy when used in collaboration with government and other stakeholders, can be a powerful tool to expand education for all.

About the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution
Founded in 2002, the Center for Universal Education at Brookings develops and disseminates effective solutions to the challenges of achieving universal quality education. The center offers a forum for research, high-level dialogue, and public debate on a range of issues relevant to education in developing countries. The Center’s work with the Business for Early Childhood Development Task Force is supported by the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected].