Compassion International-Ghana is a Christian child focused organisation dedicated to the long-term development of children living in poverty.
Speaking at a thanksgiving service organised by the NGO in Accra to climax the 10th anniversary celebration, Dr Joyce Aryee, the Executive Director, Salt and Light Ministries, said the future of societies depended on children being able to attain their optimal physical, psychological, economic and social growth.
She said early childhood development was an important phase in life as it determined the quality of health, wellbeing, learning and behaviour across the lifespan.
“It is a period of great opportunity, but also of great vulnerability to negative influences and constitutes a unique phase for capitalizing on developmental forces to prevent or minimise disabilities and potential secondary conditions.”
Dr Aryee said the path to development in each person’s life depended on the quality of support, information and training that a child experienced in his/her family, neighbourhood, and care environments.
She said when these are deficient or unsupportive; child development could be seriously affected.
“Children develop and what they need to succeed are inextricably entwined in the society in which they live and how well such society sustains and support its families and individuals,” she said.
Conclusive evidence shows that with early and appropriate interventions growth, cognitive and social-emotional development could be modified to improve health, well-being, competence and character for the future.
Despite the strength of the evidence for the greater effectiveness of investing in the early years, the response in terms of investments has been slow particularly in the poorest countries. “These countries do not realise and appreciate that they are poor in the first place because they have not taken very good care of the heartbeat of society, so the society is basically sick and lacks any meaningful prospects of enjoying the benefits of innovation and real progress.”
Dr Aryee called on all stakeholders to play their respective roles in the moulding of children.
“We all have a responsibility as a society. Families, educational institutions, teachers, communities, churches, governments, the media, and compassionate organisations like Compassion International have a role to play.”