Sara Hommel

Brookings Institution

This article describes the Wolfensohn Centre for Development, which the Brookings Institute launched in 2006  to be a new research centre dedicated to global development and poverty reduction. In 2007, the Centre launched its Early Child Development (ECD) Initiative with the objective of illuminating improved methods for scaling up ECD as a key poverty reduction strategy in the developing world. The project was designed to include a research component and an advocacy component: research to learn how to expand quality ECD and advocacy to convince global stakeholders to expand it.
The research component of the project included country case studies that examine specific programmes and policies that have been scaled up, are in the process of scaling, or are intended to scale in the future. This resulted in lessons learned about what works and doesn’t work in scaling up ECD, as well as suggestions for what each country of study could and/or should do to begin scaling, continue scaling, or ensure quality sustainability at scale.

The advocacy component of the project included events such as conferences, seminars, and policy dialogues that convened multiple stakeholder groups across sectors, convinced them to prioritise ECD, and facilitated the connections between stakeholders that are necessary for a successful scale up. The project completed case studies in six countries and  organised more than fifteen events around the globe (or played a central role in the organisation of the events).

This article discusses some of the advocacy activities as well as lessons learned about scaling up early childhood programmes arising from the first years of investigation.