USAID Launches Campaign to Encourage Early Childhood Development

USAID and its partners have launched a behavior change campaign to support child development and advocate for inclusive early childhood development
Participants posing with Hanuman. Kiripost/supplied
Participants posing with Hanuman. Kiripost/supplied

USAID has launched a campaign in Siem Reap that aims to support young children to thrive and reach their full developmental potential by promoting nurturing care from male and female caregivers.

On April 1, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) gathered 30 key stakeholders and 170 families at Heritage Walk Mall in Siem Reap for the official launch of the Behavior Change Communication (BCC) campaign.

Headed by the Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) Activity, the campaign is aimed at supporting children’s development from before birth through to the age of five. The IECD Activity is led by RTI International, with its partners Helen Keller International and Safe Haven, in collaboration with the Royal Government of Cambodia.

The BCC Campaign has been designed to support the Government’s efforts to improve holistic developmental outcomes for young children by promoting nurturing care, addressing gender inequality, preventing stunting and increasing early identification and intervention for children with developmental delays and disabilities.

All invitees and participants. Kiripost/supplied
All invitees and participants. Kiripost/supplied

John Ames, Country Director and Chief of Party for the IECD Activity, RTI International, said: “The aim of the event is to promote equal engagement and participation from men and women in raising children, to help them meet their critical cognitive, linguistic, socio-emotional, and physical developmental milestones.”

The event was held under the theme “My Good Husband, My Smart Children”. Its aim was to challenge stereotypes by advocating that men can provide equally good care to children as women. Another message emphasized at the event was that caregivers can take turns caring for children when the other needs a break. The event also highlighted the importance of responsive caregiving and early learning that help children learn, grow and thrive.

Thon Syna, Deputy Director of the Siem Reap Provincial Department of Education and a member of the Provincial Women and Children Consultative Committee, said: “This campaign is key to reducing stigma regarding gender roles in childcare that significantly impact child development because nutrition and early childhood stimulation remain a concern.”

The event will be held again on April 8 in Chi Kraeng District, Siem Reap Province.