On the ground
Getting the right skill set and perspectives
Does your immediate team feature diverse perspectives and expertise?
Engaging staff from a variety of fields and sectors (for example, early childhood specialists together with urban planners and government staff) can streamline the implementation process. Consider how the very make-up of your team (and their respective influence and decision-making power) can support the integration of early childhood principles at all levels and across civic agencies. If this is not possible, consider ways to expose your team to different perspectives and to learn together.
An Urban95 Study Tour can be a useful teambuilding exercise, in addition to strengthening capacity and providing inspiration on what’s possible. Read about an example of a team from Tel Aviv’s municipal government who travelled to Copenhagen.
Tools & resources
Who is leading on implementation?
Which organisation, and who within this organisation, is responsible for which tasks – are they aware of their roles, and do they or their team have what they need to get the job done? Do they have the necessary skills and competencies? In some cases, it could be city government or a national ministry and in other cases an NGO.
Which community organisations and/or frontline workers within your areas of focus are important to engage and why?
It is important that some people in your team not only have an understanding of the focus area or population but are connected with relevant local networks. If possible, directly including representatives from families with young children in interventions will help with scanning, designing and implementing. Working with local representatives multiplies impact, as people often trust their peers more than government experts. When communities and families actively ask for better-quality social services, they also feel more engaged and committed to the process.
Tools & resources
Engage across sectors
Do cooperation mechanisms exist between the different stakeholders?
Our partners have benefited from regular meetings between high-level stakeholders and/or the establishment of a municipal government position dedicated to cross-sectoral early childhood action. We have found that the project benefits greatly when government is accountable for cross-sectoral cooperation, with common goals, shared budgets, or written agreements with clear milestones that need to be reached in a cross-sectoral manner.
Tools & resources
What high-level allies and supporters, across sectors, can you inform early on so that they feel engaged throughout the process?
The support of high-level leaders is almost always a crucial element of success, and getting them involved early is important. Consider sharing monthly updates that link them to impact on young children and creating opportunities for them to share their achievements. Also consider what are common interests and how you can connect your work with their vision and goals. What are the different communication modes in engaging high-level allies?
How can you assemble and engage with campaigns and coalitions to take action for the youngest children?
There are potential champions for young children in many parts of civil society, including parents, physicians, nurses, teachers and childcare professionals, researchers, cultural figures, businesspeople and other professionals from a wide range of disciplines and sectors. Bringing their voices together towards a common policy or behaviour change goal in a campaign or coalition can be an important mechanism for change.