In this new OMEP project we want to support early childhood practitioners, trainers, researchers and
advisors in their practical efforts to empower young children to escape some of the disadvantages that
they face due to an accident of birth into poverty, abuse or discrimination. Key DefinitionsInvesting in Young Children
Growing up in poverty has a profound and lasting impact on the learning and development of young children. Deprivation stunts the normal brain development of young children, and early experiences shape the future cognitive, social, and emotional development of every child. It has been estimated that 200 million children under age 5 in low- and middle-income countries fail to reach their developmental potential (Grantham-McGregor et al, 2007, Sherr et al, 2009, Walker et al, 2011) . Most importantly, the extant research demonstrates that the risk factors and adverse experiences of these young children can be counteracted using evidence-based early interventions (Engel et al, 2007, 2011, Woodhead, 2009, Woodhead et al 2012, 2013).
The Articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is an internationally recognized agreement between nations which establishes a comprehensive set of goals for individual nations to achieve on behalf of their children.The CRC suggest that every child should have:
Protection against discrimination (Articles 2, 30)
Adequate health care and nutrition (Articles 6, 24)
Protection from abuse and neglect (Articles 19, 34, 36, 37, 38, 39)
Adequate provision for education, play and development (Articles 23, 28, 29, 31)
Care and protection (Articles 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 33)
Freedom from economic exploitation (Articles 32, 35)
Freedom of Expression and participation (Articles 12, 13)
Adequate standards of living (Article 27)
How are Inequality and Discrimination related?
Equality is fundamental to sustainable development, and most significantly, children are not being treated equally if they are discriminated against. Discrimination can be at the level of the classroom, in the local community or in broader national or international contexts.
In the Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, (UNICEF, 2008) a list of the rationalisastions (sic) for discrimination, and some of the groups affected by discrimination that have been identified in international reports. The list includes the following (in no particular order of significance):
'Rationalisations' for discrimination include: gender; disability; race, tribe, xenophobia and racism; ethnic origin; poverty; family status, sexual orientation; language...
The groups affected include:
Children not registered at birth
Children living in slums
Children affected by HIV/AIDS
Children of parents with HIV/AIDS
Children of indigenous communities
Children affected by armed conflict refugees/asylum-seekers
Children affected by natural disasters
Children living in poverty/extreme poverty
Children affected by economic problems/changes
Children living and/or working in the streets
Young single mothers
[Source: Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF, 2008]