At the annual 2016 Spring Conference at the World Bank, our founder, Novak Djokovic reaffirmed once again that investing in Early Childhood Education and Development is one of the smartest investments a country can make.
Yesterday, at the annual 2016 Spring Conference at the World Bank in Washington D.C, the World Bank Group President Jim Kim, UNICEF Executive Director Tony Lake and a panel of experts launched a global movement to ensure all children around the world have equal opportunities to thrive and develop. Our founder, Novak Djokovic, joined them and in his heartfelt message, urged leaders around the world to recognize importance of investing into early childhood education and development.
In today’s day and age, I am saddened that nearly half of all 3 to 6 years olds don’t have access to pre-primary education and one quarter of them is chronically malnourished. These gaps harm their brain development and have lifelong adverse consequences.
I was fortunate to have a loving family and much support as a young child. Now, it is my mission in life to help children across the world to have the opportunities they deserve. For this reason, I have founded the Novak Djokovic Foundation and together with UNICEF and the World Bank, we are making great things happen. Let’s start a movement and ensure we hit the ECD targets for the Sustainable Development Goals, said Djokovic.
This conference on ECE and ECD is of a historical importance. It was organised to gather the world leaders and present to them the simple truth:
In order for us to put a stop on childhood stunting, we need to treat this as a development and an economic emergency; we need to show the world that we need to unite behind a common goal: to deliver universal access to ECD services as quickly as possible – to as many children as possible.
We at NDF strongly believe that providing early childhood education and development is not only morally right but also economically smart: if we don’t invest in our youngest, we cannot count that our countries will have sustainable economic futures.
If we don’t help our children develop into caring and productive citizens of the world, issues pertaining to inequality, rising poverty and crime rates will continue to plague our societies.
Most importantly, if we do not recognize childhood stunting as a rising problem globally, our children will continue to learn less and less at schools and will underperform in all fields of life because We have failed to give them proper care and stimulation during their formative years.
Just like our founder – Novak Djokovic – the Foundation too remains committed to leading the way in promoting the optimal development of young children. Through number of our existing programs that range from building preschools and providing high quality ECE programs to ensuring professional development of our teachers, we support children’s most crucial years of early physical, emotional and intellectual development.
I’m so excited about Novak and Jelena taking up the early childhood development, because, in my view, one of the greatest sins that all of us are committing everyday is to allow the persistence of childhood stunting.
And to have someone like Novak Djokovic and Jelena – have the two of them – stand up and say, this is what we stand for – this is the most fundamental issue around poverty and inequality. I’m going to meetings all the time, and I’m saying: Novak Djokovic is committed to ending inequality in Early Childhood Education, what about you?
I think that if you’re not committed to ending childhood stunting, then you’re not really committed to addressing inequality.