Our vision is to grow this network to over 100 cities extending services to over 25 million children by 2020. Once we secure funding we will establish: (1) an exchange program for Mayors and civic ECD leaders to make short fact-finding visits to other Member Cities; and (2) a competitive grants program to support implementation research in-and-by Member Cities -- to strengthen the evidence base for their policies and programs (what works and what does not). We are in the process of establishing a knowledge sharing platform for the first 13 "early adopter" Member Cities, also linking them to world-class ECD scientists on our Leadership Council. We will hold an annual 2-day knowledge-sharing workshop for all Member Cities. Ultimately, we intend to catalyze a global movement to improve the well-being of all children in cities.
According to Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman, investing in children in their earliest years brings the highest returns to society and economic development. Underinvestment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) has a measurable negative impact on the economy. Undernutrition, poor health, abuse and neglect all impact a young child's developing brain, with lifelong impact on gene expression, brain architecture, learning and later health, and future earnings.