The Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children (FDCC) called for greater interdependence among citizens, stakeholders and leaders as the region turned its attention to early childhood development (ECD) during a three-day Regional Conference on ECD hosted by the Caribbean Development Bank. The conference took place at the Marriott Hotel, Beach Club, Frigate Bay, St Kitts Nevis from April 2 – 4, 2012.
In her presentation, “Effective Strategies for Corporate and Community Engagement and Support for Quality ECD”, FDCC’s Consultant Director, Susan Branker, cited the need for greater commitment and ownership of outcomes by stakeholders and the community. She said, “Shifts in public policy often do not take off until the business community rallies behind them”.
As she explored the various approaches to changing mindsets and engaging support for improved and increased ECD in the region, Miss Branker advised that ECD experts needed to repackage the “ECD product”; support social entrepreneurship in the area of early childhood development; explore broad-based funding strategies and engage in ongoing measurement of results and impacts.
While, Miss Branker noted that the change required to ensure full support for ECD is easier said than done, she highlighted a range of benefits to the region if there was wider collaboration on issues like ECD. They included the fact that stakeholders become better informed of social needs and in particular, the corporate sector would be more aware of how it can help effectively. She noted that as the FDCC continues to engage Corporate Caribbean, there is a positive shift taking place as it relates to philanthropy. She noted, “There is (also) growing consensus among corporate leaders themselves that taking action on society’s problems is a responsible business decision”.