Experiences in the early years of life lay the foundation for a child’s future health and wellbeing, making this a crucial window of opportunity for supporting children’s cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development. Young children need safe, stable and stimulating environments that are sensitive to their cognitive, health and nutritional needs, and consistent and responsive care to thrive.
But it is estimated that 250 million children (43%) younger than five years in low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries are at risk of not reaching their full developmental potential. Poverty and adverse childhood experiences have long-term effects on brain development and cognition, and an accumulation of adversities can disrupt brain development, attachment, and early learning.
This review seeks to address a gap, as there is limited understanding and implementation of interventions to prevent violence against young children, and on which interventions have potential for success in LMICs settings.
This scoping review aims to map promising programmatic approaches and interventions to prevent violence against children in the early years in LMIC (whether focused directly on children or on the adults that surround them), and to consider the lessons that can be learnt for developing, implementing, or scaling up such initiatives in low-resource settings. Since the context in which interventions are implemented matters, consideration will also be given to how programmes have been adapted to local contexts.
This review forms part of a broader initiative to build a knowledge base on interventions to prevent violence against young children, with the aim of informing the development of an innovative, evidence-based, and community-informed intervention to prevent violence against young children in South Africa.
Read the full report here.