A newborn baby girl gets her first check up at the Pediatric ward of Majuro Hospital in the Marshall Islands. World Bank investments in early childhood development will lead to better health care and better health outcomes for children in the atoll nation. For some mothers living on remote outer islands, just getting to the doctor can be a major challenge so improved and expanded services will help more children get the care they need.
A boy does a cartwheel in the schoolyard at Yet Sen Primary School in Fiji’s capital city of Suva. Government prioritization of education is helping more children across the country get to school and prepare for the future. Despite the progress, more remains to be done to ensure Fijians children get the right nutrition and support during the early years that will help them thrive.
The sun sets over Majuro atoll in the Marshall Islands. Industrial fishing boats load the latest catch from the northern Pacific and children play on a makeshift styrofoam raft as the day comes to a close. By investing in early childhood development, the country hopes to make people their most valuable resource and give their economy a dynamic advantage.
Boys play rugby on a bare dirt pitch in the overcrowded village of Hanuabada in Papua New Guinea's capital of Port Moresby. The population of the community has grown in recent years as people have come to the city looking for opportunities and better education for their children. Essential services like health care and schools have struggled to keep up with the needs of the bigger population.
Naomi helps her mum by sweeping up the leaves and rubbish outside her house in Lavengatonga on the eastern end of Tongatapu in the Kingdom of Tonga. Her mum says she’s doing well in school and she credits a World Bank supported project called Pearl that helped Naomi get an early start in learning and a solid foundation with traditional Tongan language.
A girl leans over her notebook and does her work with care and attention at Tonga High School in the capital of Nuku'alofa. The school is one of the nation’s best and students have to work hard to excel in this competitive secondary school if they want to win honors and get a chance to study overseas.
Dr Gancia meets her latest patient as she comes in for her first check up at two weeks old. Getting mothers in for regular appointments allows the team at Majuro Hospital measure the weight, track progress and intervene early if there are signs of malnutrition or other health issues.
A pickup rugby match in Hanuabada village in Port Moresby shows the incredible energy and dynamism in the young population in Papua New Guinea., The country has taken the lead in the region in prioritizing Human Capital and is working with the World Bank to improve outcomes in nutrition, child health and education so more of the country’s potential is realized.
A young girl carries a jumble of water containers to the standpipe at the end of the pier where she lives in Hanuabada village just outside Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. The water service is intermittent and families have to keep their bidon in a queue waiting for a couple of hours a day when they can get the daily supply. Sometimes not everyone gets enough so neighbors have to share and make due with water rations.
Twenty year old single mum Joanna looks on as her son plays with Jonita Alik from the home care support service for younger moms in the Marshall Islands. Women from WUTIMI go out into communities to identify vulnerable mothers and ensure they get good advice on the right stimulation and nutrition to help their babies thrive. Early Childhood Development projects like WUTIMI will be able to expand with the support from the World Bank so more children get a healthy start during those early years.
A rusted car makes up part of an improvised sea wall to stop erosion on Majuro atoll in the Marshall Islands. With rising sea levels and climate changes posing major challenges for the island nation, the government is investing in early childhood development to help their children thrive in school and development sustainable solutions to these imminent threats.
A mother breastfeeds her baby at Majuro Hospital in the Marshall Islands. With imported food like canned fish and white rice cheaper than local produce, mothers and children often suffer from malnutrition. The early childhood development project will help mothers get better nutrition for their babies and give their children a healthy foundation.
A Fijian boy practices his ABCs at Yet Sen Primary School in Suva. Investments in education in Fiji are starting to show promising results but teachers say that without parental involvement and continued learning at home, school work is not enough.
Joanna is a single mum looking after her son in a makeshift house outside of Majuro in the Marshall Islands. Every week she gets a visit from home educators who give her advice on the right food and games that will help her boy develop and thrive. The World Bank’s $13 million support for early childhood in the Marshall Islands will help more vulnerable mother's access this crucial service.
Plastic rubbish covers the ground in Hanuabada village in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Limited services in rapidly growing settlements has created major public health problems that make it even harder for children to stay healthy and excel in school. Papua New Guinea is the first country in the region to sign up for the Human Capital Project and the plan is to target investments to improve outcomes for children.
Nineteen year old Sima Billy is pregnant and since her partner left her 6 months ago, she’s been on her own. She lives in Mirigini village in Port Moresby and she doesn’t have enough for fresh vegetables to feed her developing baby. Charlie Maikai works as a community development volunteer to find moms like Sima and gives them advice on nutrition and how to ensure their babies get a good start, even before they’re born.
Naomi sits down to do her homework at her house in Lavengatonga on the eastern end of Tongatapu in the Kingdom of Tonga. She was part of a World Bank supported early childhood learning project called Pearl and her mom says it’s given her a headstart when she started primary school.
A mother and son walk past the street vendors selling unhealthy, fried foods in Hanuabada village in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. A recent survey found that 48% of children in the country are malnourished, leaving them at a disadvantage when they go to school. The World Bank is encouraging major investments to promote better nutrition so mothers are empowered to give their children healthy foods to help them thrive.
A boy goes in for a slam dunk on an improvised basketball court under a tree outside his home in Majuro. Basketball is popular as a result of American influence, but the more corrosive influence of the American diet of imported foods has taken a toll on the health of young people in the Marshall Islands. The Early Childhood Development Program will increase support for nutrition programs and aims to improve child health across the country.
Dr Gancia leads a breastfeeding workshop for new mothers at the Hospital in Majuro. The advice on nutrition is critical to support teenage mothers and families who increasingly turn to rice and imported processed foods for calories. Dr Gancia says they’re seeing good results with healthier babies during the first 1000 days as a result of giving young mothers the extra support.
Liann Lorennij pours out the water to do the washing up at her house in Majuro in the Marshall Islands. As the mother of 8 children living in a house with more than 3o people, she says there is always laundry or dishes to do but the extended family of cousins, brothers and sisters all help out to raise the kids and contribute to the household. The government’s focus on early childhood development will help mom’s like3 Liann by creating more opportunities for preschool so she may get a moment to herself.
A streak of red rushes past the camera from the school uniforms of Tongan girls on the playground of their primary school in Nuku'alofa. Education in the Kingdom of Tonga has long been a priority, but gaps in the quality of education will require a ‘whole of government’ approach to support children with health care, nutrition and well resourced schools.