How Social Protection Programmes Can Improve Early Childhood Development

For 250 million children under the age of five in low- and middle-income countries, extreme poverty and stunting undermines their developmental potential. This puts children at risk of a lifetime of hardship, and remaining trapped in poverty. Provision of economic support to families, in particular to mothers as the main carers for children, through comprehensive social protection programmes such as ‘graduation programmes’ may offer a ‘double boon’: it can improve early childhood development (ECD) in the short term and reduce poverty in the long run. Evidence from in-depth research in Haiti shows that supporting women to have sustainable livelihoods such as livestock rearing or market trading needs to go hand in hand with promoting a nurturing environment for their children to achieve positive impacts all round.