First Years, First Priority campaign external evaluation summary

We are pleased to share the findings of an independent evaluation of the First Years, First Priority campaign. Much has been achieved since the campaign launched in November 2020. The evaluation found that the campaign has reached many of its objectives, and built strong foundations for future advocacy on early childhood developmentat both the EU and the national level. A more comprehensive understanding of early childhood development, and the importance of investing in children’s early years has been raised up on the political agenda in many countries. Strengthening the advocacy capacity of organisations at the national level has been key. National networks and coalitions are now well-placed to continue to advocate for the right of all infants and young children to benefit from the nurturing care they need to grow and thrive.
The campaign benefited from a strong partnership between different networks and organisations. Eurochild and the International Step by Step Association, as co-leaders of the campaign, combined their respective network strengths and expertise, working together towards a common vision. Partnership and collaboration are essential for advocacy. Working together with the Roma Education Fund and the European Public Health Alliance, and with national partners in eleven countries across Europe, was crucial to the campaign’s achievements.
The evaluation also offers some insights into future opportunities for advocacy on early childhood, including the potential for cross-national peer-to-peer learning on the implementation of the European Child Guarantee, strengthening the research and evidence-base, and building a pan-European community of practice and advocates among early childhood development and child rights organisations.
Soon we will publish a paper on lessons learned from the campaign, with recommendations for inclusive, integrated and comprehensive approaches to children’s early years. Building on the Campaign’s collective experience we will continue to champion early childhood development as a public policy priority.

Read the evaluation