Only early intervention can save children’s future

or what I learned about Global Citizenship at a ResPublica conference

The second session focused on the ‘things money can’t buy‘ in early intervention. What are the things only families and communities can offer? There is agreement that what happens before birth and in the three first years is essential for a child’s development (see Early Intervention Report by Graham Allen MP).

Picture: http://www.guardian.co.uk

Damian Hinds MP, a father himself, emphasized the importance of parents’ education: “I learned a lot about the pains of childbirth, but not much about what happens whenyou return from the hospital.” Fergus Drake, from Save the Child UK hit similar notes sharing, amongst other things, about the FAST program around the UK Families and Schools Together.  Graham Allen MP reported about a cycle of 14 programs for youth from 0 – 18, when many young people become children themselves. Poverty is a cycle and needs to be broken at several points. Allen emphasized that basic social and relationship skills are central for other policies to take root.

Common Purpose and Reciprocity

Duncan Fisher author of ResPublica’s report on ‘Children and the Big Society’ emphasized that research also shows what common sense tells us: Working with families and the local community is most effective in early intervention in the first crucial three years. When it came to the role of the role of volunteering in social change Fisher advocated to blur the distinction between being ‘helper’ and ‘receiver’. “You cannot be a giver alone. You have to do both, give and receive (in order to facilitate lasting change).” Reciprocity is the way.

Picture: http://www.americanprogress.org/

Phillip Blond pointed out that the most ‘early intervention’ is the cultural surrounding the child is conceived in, which defines the home learning environment children will spend their school time in. Blond expressed that he sees a need for moral institutions. Such institutions only take effect when different stakeholders share a common purpose, from which common values derive.

For the development of our ‘Exploring Global Citizenship’ program it re-emphasised to me how important it is to explore the role of relationship, parenting and family to be a Global Citizen.

Furthermore the discussion re-emphazised the necessity of a common purpose and reciprocal relationships/partnerships for sustainable change, as laid out in UPF’s peace principles.

Reflection by Bogdan Pammer

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