ECD

Arnaud Conchon

Arnaud Conchon

"Ask the ECD Expert" is hosted by Arnaud Conchon, UNICEF Early Childhood Development in Emergencies Advisor. He will be discussing the work of UNICEF and partners in Haiti and other countries. Arnaud invites your participation and feedback and will be responding to comments and queries on the role of early childhood development programmes and activities in emergency situations.

ECD, three months after the earthquake

© UNICEF Haiti/2010/Van den Brule
Haiti. 2010. A group of students at L'Ecole des Infirmieres in Belval, Léogâne.

By Arnaud Conchon

La Vallé Bourdon, PORT-AU-PRINCE. 14 April 2010 – I watch in awe as a boy of 5 tinkers with a kite he made out of an old plastic bag, sticks and muddy string. Almost half of the population of Haiti is under 18 years of age and more than a million children have been touched by this disaster. Many of them are living in make-shift settlements, without parents to help promote their full development potential. Still, these children find amazing ways to create toys and invent games in an attempt to socialize with those living in the tents next to them, to get to know their new neighbours.

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Childhood Care and Education in Emergency Contexts

© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-0173/Shehzad Noorani</br>Haiti, 2010 Fabienne Pierre smiles as her five-year-old daughter, Alexi Kerida, plays with a set of stacking toys from a newly delivered UNICEF ECD kit, at the Lakay Don Bosco centre in Port-au-Prince, the capital.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-0173/Shehzad NooraniHaiti, 2010 Fabienne Pierre smiles as her five-year-old daughter, Alexi Kerida, plays with a set of stacking toys from a newly delivered UNICEF ECD kit, at the Lakay Don Bosco centre in Port-au-Prince, the capital.

Young children are usually the most vulnerable when disasters strike. In the wake of devastating natural disasters, like the earthquake in Haiti, children are at increased risk of separation from primary caregivers. The physical harm they suffer, along with increased exposure to all types of trafficking, sexual and other forms of violence, can leave long-term emotional and psychological scars. Experiencing what is referred to as ‘toxic stress’ in early childhood exposes children to greater risk of developing cognitive, behavioural and emotional difficulties.

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